Typically speaking, I’m not the type of guy who likes going backwards. That usually comes from the feeling that some things are better the first time around, or that I’ve heard it so much prior that I’m burnt out. Punk is definitely a world where you can get burned out quickly. The rules behind what you’re supposed to wear or how you can act differ per city, but for those of us who grew up in that scene, it’d a pretty dear notion. Australian three piece The Chats might be the first straight punk band I’ve heard in a while. Not post punk, not pop punk and not even another genre where the band insists that they’re punk when they’re clearly not. But just as jocks ushered in and adored pop punk, traditional punk is hard to come by nowadays. On their new album High Risk Behavior The Chats bring traditional three chord British sounding punk back and in many ways, it’s welcomed.
To be fair, the first thing that pops into your head is how much it sounds like The Damned or Buzzcocks. It’s just the style and you get over it quickly. The songs are quick and to the point. There’s no fat here, no reason to draw the points out. In fact, there’s not a three minute song of the fourteen tracks. The opening song “Stinker” gets going immediately with punk riffs and plenty of sneer in the vocals. The intriguing thing of the album is that besides the fact that a lot of the subject matter is for the youth, the record isn’t boring. “Drunk n Disorderly” is quick, lead by murky bass and vocals. The guitars sound like they were recorded through a solid state amplifier. And in many ways, the break out of the vocals just adds to the sheen that the band places on their music.
The songs that were singles “The Clap,” “Identity Theft” and “Dine N Dash” are apparent as to why they lead the album before its release. The catchiest of the album, sure. But the whole album is catchy. The high points come on “Pub Feed” possibly because the longer run time shows that the band isn’t one dimensional. “Heatstroke” because it embodies so much of what early punk was without sounding antiquated and the arrangements here are different from what you may be ready for. And of course “Do What I Want” because it really seems to embody what the band is all about and the structuring goes past the early days of the genre at the same time. The Chats aren’t reinventing the wheel on High Risk Behavior, but who cares. This is great punk without all the bullshit that typically surrounds it. It’s fun and energetic and that’s really all the music needs.
High Risk Behavior is out today and ready to be picked up physically directly from Bargain Bin Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia. It can be streamed on all streaming sites or purchased digitally in all digital outlets. The Chats are scheduled to begin touring on April 11 in Berkeley, Ca at The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall until October 29 in London, UK at Electric Brixton. Their complete tour schedule is accessible here. Due to COVID-19, these dates are subject to change or rescheduling.
Image Credits: Photo by Matt Walter.