Album Review: Chook Race – About Time

Hey, come closer. Listen up. No, no, get over here…I get it, you’ve got this whole part-time job, on/off girlfriend, and you’re in your final year of uni. Things are really heating up, I understand. You’re life is complex and complicated. You’re struggling to juggle all of these tasks, whilst pay the bills, and eat a healthy meal. You’re a grown up, and its heaps scary. Shit, its terrifying. You can only go out 4 nights a week, otherwise you’ll get a hangover. What could be more horrifying that that?

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Woah, cliffhangers amirite? To answer the question on everyone’s lips, the only thing more horrifying than your early 20’s is living a life without Chook Race in it. Now that you’re white knuckles are unravelling from all that built up tension, allow yourself to fall in love with a Melbourne three-peice that are just like listening to Robyn Hitcock with a strong Aussie accent and extra tight guitar strings.

 

The world (i.e 3/4 of Brunswick, and everyone else worth speaking to) has been waiting with baited breath for Chook Race to drop their debut album. After a slew of 7″s and cassettes that consistently broke the definition of great guitar-driven pop music, the Chookas manage to scramble together a CD-R with a tracklist that reaches into the double digits.

But, how does the whole affair measure up? Sure, a band being infectious, and lovely, and gorgeous over the space of a few tracks on a cassette is easy enough, but how about the ability to remain inspired and engaging with a breadth of material that triples the length of a 7″?

Well, cast away your fears you decadent minstrel of doubt! Chook Race consistently impress with a super strong LP that never trades in their penchant for writing a hook catchier than a Fenwick Eagle GT Spinning Rod. Chook Race deliver an LP that lives true to the aesthetic of their name…or, basically, it sounds like music that you’d put on when getting chooks to race each other in a scrappy Melbourne backyard.

Although the songs barely last for three minutes each, Chook Race still throw more energy and quirky subject matter out than the Large Hadron Collider regurgitating an episode of the Eric Andre Show. Take opener “Dentists”: “You’re always so inviting, but I just feel like having fondue”. That’s right, subject of the song, you’re such a bloody chore, that Rob would rather eat weird French cuisine and suffer the wrath of cheese dreams than hang out. Or “Just Can’t Relax”, a song about being stressed out about being looking cool and scoring the attention of a potential mate.

But what really lifts this record is Chook Race’s ability to just have fun with their affectionate brand of jangle pop. It’s always moving, shuffling and hopping for a boogie in the middle of a sparse dance floor. As Rob, Matt and Carolyn’s vocals intermingle, the bleeding melodies of their respective instruments jostle lovingly. It makes for a thoroughly enjoyable mixture of frantic and eccentric, somewhere between Pavement, and  ‘All Fools Day’-era The Saints.

If you’re looking for a fun album that appears like a secret, but also feels like it should be highly-respected, and touted as a saviour of the population, or at the very least, the mundanity of modern music, one cannot go past Chook Race’s debut. ‘About Time’ took far too long to be released, but thank ye gods that it was. What a fuckn album!

Get yaself a copy right here, at the Chook Race Bandcamp. Or catch them live when they come up to Sydney and play a few precious shows. Friday, Feb 20 at the Seymour Centre, or Saturday, Feb 21 at Black Wire Rekkids. The Black Wire show is Nathan Roche’s FINAL EVER, and Weak Boys and Jack Lee are along for support. Gonna be mad hektik.

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