Thursday, February 9, 2023

CD Odyssey Disc 1619: The Chats

Every time I complete my “top 10” list for a given year it isn’t long before an album comes along and makes a push to be added after the fact. This next record is definitely in the conversation for Top 10 of 2022, or at least Top 15.

Disc 1619 is…Get Fucked

Artist: The Chats

Year of Release: 2022

What’s up with the Cover?  The Chats have a message, and this cover delivers that message in both words and pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, although in this case just two are required.

How I Came To Know It: My friend Nick introduced me to the Chats about five years ago when he sent me their video for the single “Smoko” which to this day is one of the best songs…ever. When Nick sent this song around it had a few thousand hits but it is now over 18 million. Well, discovered, Nick!

Anyway, since then I’ve been on the lookout for the Chats and have bought both their full-length studio albums. “Get Fucked” is their most recent. I bought this one direct from the band through Bandcamp and look, it came with a sticker!

How It Stacks Up: I have two killer Chats albums and it is hard to choose between them. I guess because I’m immersed in this record, I’ll put “Get Fucked” #1, but this could change when I finally review its competition.

Rating: 4 stars

On each successive listen to “Get Fucked” I have turned the volume up a couple of ticks. By the time Thursday had rolled around, the car was shaking with their punk/hardcore fury.

This may seem like an obvious thing to do with a punk album, but there is something you should know about me. Something that very much belies my heavy metal roots: I don’t like my music too loud. Even the angry stuff. I think when it gets so loud that it’s painful, it is time to dial it back. But with “Get Fucked” I just kept going to 11 and I just kept loving it.

For the second review in a row, the album opens with a song about a vehicle. On the IDLES record this was a performance motorcycle with a Rolls Royce Engine (MTT 420 RR). The Chats go with “6L GTR” which isn’t fully defined, but that I think references a Holden Torana, which is an Australian made muscle car. Whatever it is, the music tells you right away it is going to be driven at reckless speed.

The whole record charges forward at reckless speed. There are 13 tracks, and the whole thing is over in 27 sweat-drenched minutes. “Get Fucked” is the Chats at their heaviest, and many songs embrace heavy metal style guitar riffs nested down inside what is otherwise straightforward mosh-inducing punk rock. The effect is intoxicating, and not in that “fine wine” kind of way. This is music for the reckless drunk, or for those who just want to safely feel like a reckless drunk for two to two and a half minutes at a time.

Subject-wise, the Chats are very literal. “Struck by Lightning” is about being struck by lightning, and “Ticket Inspector” is about being a ticket inspector. Want to know what it’s like to be “Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane”? Listen to the song and you’ll have an approximation. And for anyone who has ever lived pay cheque to pay cheque there is no better expression of the deep frustration than the impotent fury of “Paid Late”.

Through it all, the band is sneaky tight. It isn’t easy to play with this much wanton fury and still stay on the beat, but these boys manage it without losing one ounce of their punk rock cred. Singer and bassist Eamon Sandwith has that classic eighties voice for the style, channeling something between Jello Biafra and Johnny Rotten.

My favourite song on the record is “The Price of Smokes” which shows off Sandwith’s bass skills as well as his vocals. The band’s first hit “Smoko” is an anthem to a smoke break, but “The Price of Smokes” is an angry, brickbat of an anthem of finding out that the sin tax on cigarettes has gone up. Take the murderous gleam in the eye of a smoker who finds themselves two dollars short of a pack, distill it down into a song, and you’ve got “The Price of Smokes” aka “Smoko Denied”.

This whole record was one giant explosion of loud and awesome. I don’t smoke, I haven’t been drunk in a single pub in Brisbane and I listened to this record in a Jaguar convertible not a 6 L GTR. I am a far cry from these characters. I'm likely a favoured target of the cover art’s message. But so what – I had a great time. Want a little rebellion in your life, in 30 minute chunks or less? Get this record, put it on repeat, and turn it up. Loud.

Best tracks: 6L GTR, Struck by Lightning, Ticket Inspector, The Price of Smokes, Paid Late, Emperor of the Beach

No comments: