In Review: CHOOK RACE – ABOUT TIME (SELF RELEASE, 2015)

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A lot of Australia’s current crop of underground indie groups focus heavily on the doldrums of life – work, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s a common thread in middle-class music today and as relatable as it is, there is already a lot of music out there saying the same thing, just in more compelling ways.

Chook Race is a band that has been likened heavily to other current Australian indie bands such as Twerps, Dick Diver and Boomgates. Constant comparisons are bound to annoy and cheapen the work of Chook Race in their own eyes and fair enough. We don’t live in a vacuum and sharing an intimate music scene with the likes of the aforementioned means that some cross-pollination of sound may occur – but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the bands are exactly alike, surely? That being said, there is only so much listless indie a listener can take – through no real fault of the band, About Time by Chook Race failed to grab me.

The record begins with ‘Dentists’, a blistering and taught opener that smacks you in the face like a blast of hot summer air or oven heat. It raises sweat on my brow and is a great jumping point for the album. If the pace continued through the album proper it might have been a more compelling album to me overall, but soon the trio settle into a slower pace and I can’t help but see some cracks. A lot of Australia’s current crop of underground indie groups focus heavily on the doldrums of life – work, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s a common thread in middle-class music today and as relatable as it is, there is already a lot of music out there saying the same thing, just in more compelling ways.

Songs like ‘Clever’ and ‘Everyday’ are great tunes regardless of subject matter and there is plenty to like on the album – I just wanted more. We are in a glut of quality Aus-rock right now and maybe the recent release of quality albums from the likes of Twerps and Dick Diver can overshadow the effort of a band like Chook Race. It’s unfortunate, because this band has shown marked improvement. I can’t really say what’s missing for me, but the catchiness of ‘Numb’ from 2014’s split with Unity Floors seems to be absent. About Time needs more pep, and I’m sure Chook Race has plenty of pep in them, otherwise, intentional or not, the band will simply get lost in the morass of introspective Australian indie slack-rock that is oh-so-abundant.

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