I know this has been out for a while, but About Time, Chook Race’s debut LP, has been haunting me. It’s been my go-to album this week at work, whether it be marking, filing, reporting, hating (there is a large degree of hatred at my day job…), and there is something about these jaunty, jangly, jagged gems that has burrowed under my skin. ‘Dentist’ is the opening salvo, and it honestly feels dated in the right kind of way – like stumbling across a shoebox of those Kodak photos that had curved edges (do you remember those? Or am I making them up? Whatever…) filled with snaps of your parents in their authentic punk regalia, in some sunny, drenched-in-freedom backstreet of your birth town that never existed in your memory of your childhood. The familiarity continues all the way through the album. Now I must admit that I always liked About Time (I reviewed it for an Australian magazine some months ago), but the pleasantries barely extended beyond that surreptitious admission of acknowledgement - ‘like’. But other nuances seep through the second, third or (in my current case) thirty-fifth listen, that imbues the trio’s no-frills laidback approach with a heady dose of gravitas.
‘Always On Time’ feels like Electrelane as a further stripped back beach band, eschewing frenetic metronomic spikes of aggression for a sepia-tinged narcoleptic speed; ‘Cleve’ bleeds out of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring rabbithole, a twitching yet laconic blast that features angelic lyrics for only twenty seconds of its running time. ‘Outbound’’s bassline fits into that ECSR tone too – it reminds me of the summers I have in my mind, forever drinking in the temporal twilight of a forever setting sun over my favourite beer garden, back porch, or beach, my schooner neverending. ‘Relax’ could slip into the laconic slipstream of a thousand other dolewave-affiliated acts yet still has its own wily charm; closer ‘Tables Turned’ is a hangover dancing under the rusted and lopsided Hills Hoist charmer, with a delightful fade-out that doesn’t exist on albums all that much anymore.