Coolum, Australia-based punk trio The Chats — Eamon Sandwith (vocals, bass), Josh Price (guitar, vocals) and Matt Boggis (drums) — can trace its origins back to when its members started the band in their friend’s bong shed back in 2016, when the band’s members were still in high school. 2017 saw the release of their debut EP, Get This In Ya, which the band recorded in four hours. The following year, the band quickly rose to national and international attention with the release of “Smoko” and its accompanying video. Dave Grohl loved the video for “Smoko” so much that he wound up showing it to Josh Homme, who then asked the Aussie punk trio to open for Queens of the Stone Age during their Australian tour that year.
The Chats also won the attention of the legendary Iggy Pop, who asked the band to open for him during his Australian tour last year. (Reportedly, he peppered the band with questions like “What’s a smoko?” and “What’s a dart?”) Adding to a momentous year, the band toured across Australia, the UK and their first Stateside shows — with their Los Angeles show being attended by Home, Grohl and Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner. They closed out last year with a return UK tour, selling out London’s O2 Forum.
Understandably, the past couple of years have been a whirlwind for the rapidly rising Aussie punk trio: the band has spent that time balancing touring, writing songs and whenever their gigs took them to Victoria, stopping by engineer Billy Gardner’s Geelong-based studio to recording the material they had written. And as a result, it took the band 18 months to record their highly-anticipated full-length debut High Risk Behaviour, which is slated for a March 27, 2020 release through the band’s own Bargain Bin Records/Cooking Vinyl Australia. “If we’d just done a week and slogged it out we could have had an album before now but we just kept going in there and making newer and better songs so it’s hard to put a stop on it,” the band’s Sandwith says in press notes. “Some of the songs were first-take and we were like, ‘That’s good, whatever’ We’re really not perfectionists.” (Interestingly, although, the band found themselves in the middle of a bidding war between a couple of major labels, they were determined to continue to do everything their own way, steadfastly maintaining the DIY ethos they started with.)
The Aussie punk act’s full-length debut, derives its title from personal experience: the band’s Matt Boggis has routinely been hassled by local police for skating in places he shouldn’t be — and he’d frequently get tickets listening the offense as “High Risk Behaviour.” The album’s 14 songs clock in at a total of 28 minutes with about half of its songs not even reaching the two-minute mark. ““I don’t want to make the songs boring, so I just keep them short and sweet,” Sandwith says of their creative process. “We try not to think about it or complicate it too much. You don’t want to force it or the song’s going to turn out crap.” Reportedly, the end result features material that’s centered around a three-chords-is-probably-one-too-many approach, Sandwith’s partially spoken, partially sung vocals while displaying youthful exuberance and drunken rowdiness. (Yes, in some way, FIDLAR does come to mind — but Aussies are crazier.) “I think they’re good songs,” says Sandwith. “And at the end of the day, if I like it then fuck it, who cares if other people do?”
Clocking in at a little over two minutes, High Risk Behaviour’s latest single “The Clap” is a cretinous bit of punk rock, centered around scuzzy power chords, shouted call and response vocals and a mosh pit friendly hook that makes the band — and in turn, the song — sound indebted to to ’77 era punk, complete with a snotty, zero fucks given air. Featuring the band’s Josh Price taking on vocal duties, the song is a mosh pit friendly ripper that’s partially a cautionary tale about a sexual encounter gone very wrong and a sexually transmitted infection that’s painful and just doesn’t seem to leave.
Directed by Matt Weston, the recently released video for “The Clap” finds the band’s Price heading to the clinic in severe pain. Of course, while trying to get treatment, the doctors are completely disgusted by Price’s condition. But they find the time to treat him — in a way that seems painful, repulsive and absurd. Much like the song itself, the video is fucking hilarious.