The Chats – ‘Get Fucked’

By Tom Walsh

From the band that brought you songs about smoke breaks, dine and dashing, craving the nutritional glory of pub food and catching venereal diseases – everyone’s favourite mullet-adorning, garage punk Australians are back with a new, even more frantic record.

Brisbane’s The Chats’ rise from scrappy upstarts playing in their friends’ basements and garages, to scrappy upstarts selling out venues across Europe, the US and their homeland has been quite extraordinary. After their 2017 video for ‘Smoko’ went viral, it has been a whirlwind for the band that plays very hard, very fast and pulls absolutely no punches when it comes to dropping in Queensland slang.

Their debut record, 2020’s ‘High Risk Behaviour’ released just before the pandemic, was the perfect encapsulation of being young and broke. It was a no-frills record, incredibly raw with a humour that was delivered at a blistering pace. There were sketchy solos, lyrics which wouldn’t mean anything to anyone outside of the Sunshine Coast and choruses that have been bellowed back at them at shows across the world.

The Chats’ sophomore record, ‘Get Fucked’ simply picks up where ‘High Risk Behaviour’ left off. Whilst the departure of founding member and guitarist Josh Price was somewhat unexpected, his replacement Josh Hardy has slotted in seamlessly – and in the words of bassist and vocalist Eamonn Sandwith, “fucking rips”.

Opener ‘6L GTR’ pokes a finger at wealth-obsessed celebrity culture in which Sandwith repeats “don’t need a fancy car, I just need a six-litre GTR”. Sonically, The Chats haven’t deviated much away from their early style, which is a blend of the rolling rhythms of The Hives, the manic vocal styles of the Buzzcocks and the frantic nature of early Chubby and the Gang.

Tracks like ‘Struck By Lightning’ and ‘Southport Superman’ go by in a flash and are played at such a high tempo, it leaves you wondering how they’ll manage to play them even faster at a live set. They rail against overzealous authority figures in ‘Ticket Inspector’ which, as we’ve all felt at some point in our lives, details the absolute drudgery of having to deal with someone that simply loves having the tiniest amount of power over you.

Irresponsible workplaces and the importance of unions are put into focus on ‘Dead On Site’, while ‘The Price of Smokes’ talks of the ongoing cost of living crisis. What starts as a classic Chats song, in which Sandwith bemoans how expensive a pack of cigarettes costs, it bursts into an anti-government rant as the singer demands “those bastards in parliament ought to be hung by their neck”.

There is, of course, textbook Chats tracks such as ‘I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane’ and ‘Emperor Of The Beach’, the latter is a swipe at Australia’s macho beach culture which has bled into racist segregation with “local’s only” beaches, all wrapped up in music reminiscent of ‘Kerplunk’-era Green Day.

If you’re familiar with The Chats, ‘Get Fucked’ will not disappoint. It’s the fast, thrashing, sneering garage punk the Aussie trio do so well and makes you think, “yeah, I’d like to grow a mullet and get drunk in every pub in Brisbane” too.

TOM WALSH

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