The Chats are the sort of band for where, even if what they do mightn’t click in the slightest, there’s enough about them that’s worth keeping around. That’s certainly the impression they’ve made so far, where their take on punk leans incredibly old and incredibly no-frills (probably a bit too much at times), but they’ve found a way to leverage their own personality to keep in the spotlight. That typically comes from amping up the looseness that often accompanies Australian punk bands, though with a notable sneer and a dialling in to Aussie slang that’s unique to them. Granted, they still run into the usual problem of narrowed breadth that’s another shared trait, though it’s also possible to give them the benefit of the doubt when they act more independently from the waves of interchangeable slacker-punks. After all, they can’t claim to boast a viral hit like Smoko, so there must be something to The Chats, right?
Well, Get Fucked kind of gets there, if only because there’s something inherently workable about how far the band lean into their hoary, confrontational sound.If it wereany rougher around the edges, it’d barely be mastered at all, as guitars and bass crank through their respective blasts of noise, and Eamon Sandwith’s barks put little stock in vocal range or fluidity. The level in which it works is that of pure, visceral punch; any surprises are relegated to slightly more melodic changes of pace like The Price Of Smokes, such is the depth in which The Chats have sunk into this style.
As a result, it’s a smart move to keep it all as short and fast as possible. By no means can Get Fucked justify anything too extensive, and while even then it’s unable to escape how rigid The Chats’ creative approach can be, it’s not in a position where it flags too heavily for it. The figure they cut is still that of a salt-of-the-earth garage band bashing out punk with reckless abandon, which holds firm on the basis of them being able to pull it off reasonably well.
At the same time though, you can’t really ignore how The Chats are demonstrably not the sort of band built for enormous things. That isn’t precisely their fault, but in the same way that Slaves fell pray to diminishing returns pretty early on, Get Fucked is similarly planted in its creators’ narrower focus. They’re also at a stage where they’re nowhere near as outwardly rote as Slaves too, managing to stave it off through sheer force of will and the personality they bring.
There’s nothing performative about how grubby and sneering Sandwith is as a frontman, particularly when he cakes on the Aussie feel to songs like Boggo Breakout and I’ve Been Drunk In Every Pub In Brisbane. Coupled with his tar-thick natural accent that’s enough on its own to set The Chats apart, the street-level mould that Sandwith adopts becomes the most noteworthy thing about him. He’ll focus on rallying against everyday mundanities on Ticket Inspector and tie it intrinsically to Australian reference points like racist cliques of beach bros on Emperor Of The Beach. The homegrown flavouring does a fair bit to elevate Get Fucked from being wholly cut-and-dry in punk, even in the more socio-political leanings of The Price Of Smokes and Dead On Site that come with their own points of reference to keep any such broadness at bay.
Granted, you’re also not getting a band with vast amounts of insight beyond the anger with which punk like this traditionally carries itself, and that feeds into the limited aspect of The Chats pretty wholeheartedly. Even on a better album like this one is, it’s very much in-keeping with where the band have always been, unwavering in general thematic scope and even more so in how it’s carried out. Longevity is not a strong suit here, a fact not only applicable to The Chats within their scene, but for whom it hits pretty hard when they’re probably the ones who’d have the easiest time escaping it. It’s still better than expect though, for sticking more than The Chats often have in the past, and a step as significant as that counts for something anyway.
For fans of: Amyl And The Sniffers, Dune Rats, FIDLAR
‘Get Fucked’ by The Chats is released on 19th August on Bargain Bin Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall