Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Chats - High Risk Behaviour

Well here it is! The Chats full-length that you've either been eagerly awaiting or completely dreading for the past three years is finally out! Given The Chats' legion of famous fans and multitude of champions in the mainstream press, it was inevitable that this band would polarize the punk rock faithful. But you can put me on the side of the fence that believes these guys are brilliant. And even with their ever-growing popularity, it's not like The Chats have "sold out". High Risk Behaviour doesn't alter the approach of the band's first two EPs one bit. What we've got here are 14 tracks of wonderfully dumb teenage punk rock songs written by actual teenagers. Eamon, Matt, and Pricey are still those same goofy kids who retreated to the shed in 2016 with minimal instrumental prowess and banged out the instant classic "Mum Stole My Darts". Perhaps they've advanced a little in musical skill, but their m.o. remains simple, snotty songs about being young and getting into all sorts of trouble. The Chats' penchant for funny storytelling has turned out to be a double-edged sword - their detractors will look at the low-brow humor of their music videos and write them off as a one-note "joke band". But High Risk Behaviour demonstrates that these not-so-serious lads have some seriously good tunes. Musically, there's a refreshing lack of any conscious attention to genre. Is this '77-style punk? Hardcore punk? Oi!? Garage punk? It's a little bit of all of that - which basically makes it just punk rock, right? Even if you're not amused by songs about drinking heavily, contracting STDs, getting tossed out of public establishments, stealing food, mouthing off to authority figures, and dealing with the unfortunate repercussions of buying drugs over the Internet, it's hard to deny that The Chats are just being their authentic selves. I can't help but admire a band that can approach the topics of gun control and pub food cravings with equal vehemence.

Perhaps in four or five years, we'll expect some growth and originality out of The Chats. But for now, those things are unneeded and perhaps even unwanted. We ought to just enjoy a band that excels at creating (in Eamon's words) "songs for people to jump around and have fun to". And if that is the standard they're aspiring to, they've hit it bang-on. High Risk Behaviour is every bit the album I hoped it would be based on The Chats' prior output. It's a fucking great punk rock record, which is precisely what I need at the moment. I'm still waiting for Mick Fletcher to shout his impressions of High Risk Behaviour from the mountaintop, but I've got a feeling he's going to be firmly in my corner. The talent it requires to make music this stupid is highly underestimated. Know it, people: The Chats ain't no joke!


1 comment:

mickfletcher said...

One good thing about the corona virus outbreak is that you're reviewing more often Josh. As for The Chats album, I think it's great but I haven't reviewed it as such as I've already featured 3 songs from it.