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The Chats - High Risk Behaviour (Album Review)

Tuesday, 07 April 2020 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Luke Henery

The Chats, like so many punk bands who came before them, appear to be too dumb to fail. Hailing from Australia’s Sunshine Coast, the trio’s debut album ‘High Risk Behaviour’ is a rapid-fire collection of short, sharp shocks that mainlines tossed off observational humour and charging lo-fi power chords.

After stumbling into a sliver of limelight thanks to their eye-catching underground sleeper hit Smoko, bassist-vocalist Eamon Sandwith, guitarist Josh Price and drummer Matt Boggis have doubled down on that formula, slinging 14 snotty ragers into the world in under 30 minutes.

What they lack in sophistication they make up for with bug-eyed abandon. Songs like Identity Theft are infectious in their straight ahead desire for noise and mayhem, while Sandwith is never more than a few seconds away from a shit-eating aside or, in the case of Keep The Grubs Out, a pin-sharp character sketch.

Momentum counts for a lot on records like this, and the Chats appear to know that. There is no let up, and seven or eight songs in there is the feeling of wandering, punch-drunk, through a scene that you only tangentially understand. But, while that’s exciting for a while, there’s not really enough substance on ‘High Risk Behaviour’ to ensure a return trip.

The band’s ‘shed rock’ owes plenty to their Australian forebears in the Saints and even Bon Scott-era AC/DC, but they would perhaps do well to consider adding a little of the Go-Betweens’ melodic jangle to the mix. Too often the trio fall back on repetition and call and response in place of hooks that cut through the chaos to find its sweet centre. 

When placed next to their garage-rock peers in bands like Radioactivity, who know a thing or two about trebly riffs and driving tempos, there is a sense of refinement missing. ‘High Risk Behaviour’ is a lot of fun, and remarkably good at conjuring the smell of sweat and stale beer, but the Chats will live or die in finding a little subtlety to go with the snark.

The Chats Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri October 16 2020 - SOUTHAMPTON 1865
Sat October 17 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Sun October 18 2020 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Mon October 19 2020 - DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Tue October 20 2020 - BELFAST Limelight
Wed October 21 2020 - GLASGOW SWG3
Thu October 22 2020 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Fri October 23 2020 - LEEDS Leeds University Union
Sat October 24 2020 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Boiler Shop
Sun October 25 2020 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Mon October 26 2020 - BRIGHTON Brighton Dome
Tue October 27 2020 - SOUTHAMPTON Southampton 1865
Wed October 28 2020 - LONDON Electric Brixton
Thu October 29 2020 - LONDON Electric Brixton

Click here to compare & buy The Chats Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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The Chats Announce Debut LP 'High Risk Behaviour', Confirm Autumn UK And European Tour
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