For Fans Of
It doesn’t stick around, but The Bennies new album ‘Natural Born Chillers‘ (because of course it’s called that) is a banger from front to back; jumping from breezy ska to catchy punk rock and stoner rock with ease, all often within a single track. This could very easily detract from the overall accessibility of the album, but the band traverses the space between these genres in such a laid back and relaxed manner that it simply works. At a tick over 20 minutes long it doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to stop and think about it either – they aren’t trying to convince you of their sound, or even justify their wild, creative choices. Instead, The Bennies just drop this new piece of work right in your lap without any unnecessary beating around the bush, and I think that that approach works all the better for it.
Pretty much every track on here could start a party, and simply by that function, The Bennies have already succeeded in their mission statement of having a bloody good time. ‘Get High Like An Angel‘ is their blend of genres at its most cohesive and successful, ‘Destination Unknown‘ dips into classic catchy, tongue-n-cheek Blink-182 territory, and ‘Natural Born Chillers‘ is an example of what happens when the band let their worship of The Specials take over almost entirely. Like I’ve already said, this could have very easily come together in a big steamy mess, but credit goes to the way these elements are brought together in one cohesive collection of party starters.
For better and for worse, unapologetically Aussie humour is also a hallmark of ‘Natural Born Chillers‘, the most obvious example of this being ‘Trip Report‘, a hilarious recounting of various everyday situations. In fact, it’s the carefree and conversational approach to songwriting that holds together the different moving parts of this album. Whether the band is flying through ‘Ocean‘ or leaning back with a beverage on ‘Natural Born Chillers‘ the frank and bluntly narrative orientated lyricism is constantly charming and often pretty funny.
Having said all of this, this album doesn’t quite strike the balance of length that would have elevated it to something even better. I completely understand the “in and out” idea behind an album of this style, but with only seven real songs I feel like there was still room for one (maybe even two) more tracks to add to the tracklist before it even started to outstay its welcome. Again, this doesn’t necessarily detract from the overall quality of The Bennies latest, but it did leave me wanting somewhat, and a little disappointed. This did help the other slight issue I had with the album though, being the slightly annoying and constant brand of humour that’s soaked all over the release. I know that I commended the band for this earlier – my own words after all – but for some people (myself definitely included), the “comedic” aspects did start to become a little grating come the last few tracks, and if the album were to be longer as I suggested then that certainly would’ve become more of an issue for me. Of course, I can’t speak for everyone and I guess ‘Natural Born Chillers‘ will just be a matter of personal taste – you may find it hilarious, you may find it oddly humour, or you might find it insufferably annoying.
As far as party starters go, you can’t go wrong with anything on this new Bennies record. It’s short, sharp and ready to go, bursting with energy and excitement and fun and an undeniably unique personality. I mean, come on, it’s a Bennies record after all.
- Get High Like An Angel
- Destination Unknown
- Natural Born Chillers
- Trip Report
- Apathetic Revolution
- Very Shit Carpet
‘Natural Born Chillers’ is out now.