Australian punks The Chats have created their own genre: shed rock, a scrappy, ragtag sound named after the wooden hut in which they used to practice. A lot’s changed in the last few years, though – ‘Smoko’, their ode to a fag break, has been streamed more than eight million times, they’ve toured with Queens of The Stone Age and Iggy Pop and even found a fan in Dave Grohl. Yet success hasn’t changed them: it’s still longnecks, drugs and rock’n’roll.
Debut album ‘High Risk Behaviour’ is stuffed with the chaotic energy that the band has always held dear. From gruff opener ‘Stinker’, which sounds like the Sex Pistols sped the hell up, through to the infectious smirk of ‘The Clap’ – all gang vocals and hand claps – and the ‘Dookie’-esque ‘Do What I Want’, The Chats celebrate having a good time, whatever your surroundings.
A rampant lust for life flows through ‘High Risk Behaviour’. Not a single song on the record is in danger of breaking the three-minute mark, as the band tell tales of enduring the Sunshine Coast (from ‘Stinker’: “We don’t get used to the heat up here / We learn to fucking live with it”), getting high and trying to make rent. Full of the kind of everyday anthems that shaped Arctic Monkeys’ debut, this album provides the perfect soundtrack to being broke, bored and optimistic. If there’s fun to be had, reckon The Chats, it’s homemade.
This album keeps a polished sound at bay, but they do sound tighter and more in control than they did on 2017 EP ‘Get This In Ya!!’. There’s even an actual guitar solo on ‘Identity Theft’, a public service announcement warning of the dangers of buying pills online. It’s all fun and games, but ‘High Risk Behaviour’ sees The Chats make good on their promise of being one of the most exciting punk bands around; their formula is simple but never stupid.
The band choose heart over head. ‘Drunk and Disorderly’ sounds like QOTSA’s classic rock banger ‘Feel Good Hit Of The Summer’ on a budget of loose change and IOUs, and ‘Keep The Grubs Out’ is a snarling spoken-word rager inspired by the time bassist and singer Eamon Sandwith was refused entry to a club because of his mullet (“People with your disgusting haircut are not welcome on these premises”). Closer ‘Better Than You’, meanwhile, sounds like a pub cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ played in a fraction of the time. Grinning and unruly, ‘High Risk Behaviour’ absolutely goes for the jugular.
Young, dumb and full of come-over-and-party-with-us spirit, The Chats demand a feral, full-bodied reaction and their album is bursting with joyous anthems made for sunshine sing-alongs. The sesh has never sounded so good. The Chats don’t so slow songs. They don’t do sad songs. The Chats do good times and this debut is set to inspire plenty.
- Release date: March 27
- Record label: Bargain Bin Records / Cooking Vinyl Australia