Bargain Bin Records
Words by Michael Naidos
The Australian punk rock scene is not only alive and well but getting global success and, alongside AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS, THE CHATS are leading the way off the top of the success of their album, High Risk
Behaviour and lead single Smoko in 2020. Something about their DIY “shed rock” packed full of classic riffs and charm has not only won the hearts of fans worldwide but attracted the attention of some big name bands who couldn’t wait to include them on their Australian tours such as QUEENS OF THE STONEAGE, THE STROKES and the upcoming GUNS N’ ROSES shows.
While they maintain their ferocity, these guys seem to fly by the philosophy of just being here for a good time. As vocalist/bassist EAMON SANDWITH explains about the album’s title, “We just thought how funny would it be, if you were a kid seeing it on the album cover. I remember going to K-Martand seeing the Green Day ‘Dookie’ CD and being like, ‘Aw man, this is the craziest album cover I’ve ever seen!’ Imagine being a kid and just seeing a CD that says, ‘Get Fucked’!”
They appropriately start things off with 6 LTR GTR. The revhead anthem replicates the stop-start momentum of the rev of an engine throughout and hits cruise control at the bridge with a wonderful mantra in “don’t need a big flash fancy car, just need a 6 LT GTR”. Highly recommend the music video
animated by MARCO IMOV.
Struck by Lightning is reminiscent of the band’s beloved AC/DC, especially the BON SCOTT era. Putting the ‘fun’ in fundamental songwriting, the pace is upbeat and the backing vocals of “shoo wop doo wop”. Tight composure, catchy hooks and enough force to keep your feet stomping along the boys know how to write a rock song proving they’re more than lightning caught in a bottle (pun intended…G.F.).
The thick, juicy intro from Sandwith’s bass in Panic Attack ignites the mood of the descriptive symptoms of one’s decline to their own mental health, something I’m sure a majority of us can identify with in recent times. Bonus points for the flair in the chorus’ vocals not heard since BILLY JOEL‘s Movin’ Out.
Ticket Inspector sees Sandwith take perspective from the point of view of the despised profession. The jaunty track is layered with riffs as they try to understand the mindset of the figure of semi-authority. Another character piece comes in the form of Dead on Site as they examine some folk as they meet their demise complimented by the roll of MATTHEW BOGGIS’ drums and the slick guitar stylings of new recruit JOSH HARDY.
The lamentations of The Price of Smokes are kept at an empathetic level, with the tempo reigned in a bit as we feel for the smoker’s problems with inflation. The grit of their teeth gets tougher as the song goes on before coming to the solution of “hanging those bastards in parliament”. Makes sense to me…take advantage of nicotine addictions – get hung.
Another one of the middle class’ financial stresses is covered in Paid Late. The band do so much in so little time, yet keep it at a simplistic level to allow the broadest of audiences to enjoy every second produced, I defy anyone to not want to join in on shouting along to “mind your own fucking business mate!”
I’ve Been Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane is The Chats’ version of I’ve Been Everywhere Man, where the group shoot off a list of the illustrative ways they’ve been shitfaced at a number of different venues within the Sunshine Coast.
Another character is introduced in the funk-punk sounds of Emperor of the Beach. The self-righteous beachcomber blows off some steam in the face of casual visitors of the shore, which quickly reveals itself with racially discriminative intentions. Love the choice to include some classic surf riffs to round out the song, though. Though not to outdo themselves in paying respects to the old school sounds of yesteryear, they close with the rockabilly influenced Getting Better complete, with the harmonising refrain
of “woo oos”.
Get Fucked does not mess around. It’s quite simply all killer and speeds through thirteen tracks with nare a dull moment. Packed with snapshots of suburban Australia and characters based on personal experiences, the band continue to do whatever the fuck they want and do it well. Fun, fast and full of vulnerability, their latest release is strong evidence that The Chats deserve to hold the crown as modern day punk rock royalty.