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October 2020
Album review

The Chats – High Risk Behaviour

Their rollicking debut album plays to their strengths, heralding the emergence of a new laidback punk spirit.
Label: Bargain Bin Records
Released: 27th March 2020
Rating: ★★★★
The Chats – High Risk Behaviour
Published: 10:00 am, March 27, 2020Words: Blaise Radley.

If one thing becomes clear over the course of 'High Risk Behaviour', it's that The Chats couldn't give two shits. Thankfully, their brand of not-shit-giving is of the irreverent, tongue-wagging kind rather than any screw-faced seriousness. Their rollicking debut album plays to their strengths, heralding the emergence of a new laidback punk spirit.

Pitched somewhere between easy-going surfer exuberance and knuckle-bruising punk fist flailing, The Chats are perfectly personified by frontman and bassist Eamon Sandwith (handy that, eh?). His distinctive red mullet and characteristic jaunty snarl don't see him so much as carry the album as shove it down his trousers and leg it out the shop.

Over the course of just under 30 minutes, Sandwith and his gawky cronies get their identities stolen buying drugs on the internet, commit the perfect crime of dining and dashing, and acquire mosquito-borne diseases—just your usual night on the piss. If it sounds boisterous, well, it is, but the band are as autobiographical as they are serious. That is, not very.

Case in point: the title 'High Risk Behaviour' was cribbed from the "cause of incident" Aussie cops would write on tickets for drummer Matt Boggis for his habit of skating where he shouldn't. An ironic header then, but in the fun and dumb Alanis Morissette way, rather than a sullen hipster one. It's this binding sense of humour that elevates the occasionally repetitive balls-to-the-wall riffs and ripping drum beats.

Most of all, The Chats just want you to get wasted and thrash around. The songs are largely under two minutes long, the distortion pedal is firmly pressed down, and the lyrics are frequently mundane and absurd in the same breath. Getting chlamydia never sounded so much fun.

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