Album review: The Chats – High Risk Behaviour

Aussie punk dirtbags The Chats lower the tone and raise a smile on ragged debut High Risk Behaviour.

Album review: The Chats – High Risk Behaviour
Nick Ruskell

The Chats formed in a “bong shed”, where the teenaged Sunshine Coast trio would sneak off to smoke weed. They went viral with a song, Smoko, about having a fag break. The title of High Risk Behaviour comes from the offence listed on tickets drummer Matt Boggis got from the plod for skateboarding in non-skateboardy places. Clearly, they are three young men whose supply of fucks is short, but who only really want to use their rebellious spirit for having a beer and a laugh. As heroically bemulleted frontman Eamon Sandwith says himself, “We don’t make songs for people to look at in a fucking emotional or intellectual way. We just make songs for people to jump around and have fun to.” But even this cannot prepare you for the brilliantly lowbrow 28 minutes of carefree slacker punk that they’ve served up here.

None of High Risk Behaviour is polished or refined. Instead, this is scruff-arsed music that shines thanks to a genuine charm and sense of natural humour. With half the songs not breaking the two-minute barrier and none sticking around for three, each track comes in on a fiendishly simple riff and does its job as quickly as possible so it can get down the pub. This, however, is ample time in which to cover such important topics as venereal disease (The Clap), getting tanked (Drunk And Disorderly), and identity theft (um, Identity Theft). You might think they’re taking the piss, until you listen and realise that this is simply what The Chats are really like. Their ode to a delicious dinner in the boozer, Pub Feed, is silly, but it’s also a boisterous, catchy shout-along. Meanwhile, Dine And Dash, a song about (you guessed it) skipping out on your restaurant bill, is similarly boneheaded fun.

It wouldn’t work if it wasn’t so natural and real. But it is, and that’s why The Chats are such a laugh, and why their have-a-good-time-all-the-time vibe doesn’t seem like they’re protesting too much to cover inadequacy. They are going down to pubs to stuff themselves silly, they do love a beer, they probably have been thrown out of somewhere for not being smartly-dressed enough. If you’re looking for a short, fun thrill from a gang of likeable oiks with all the grace of a one-legged camel, talk to The Chats.

Verdict: 4/5

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