ALBUM REVIEW: Street Chant | Means

written by Chris Familton

Street Chant finally see the Australian release of their debut album which came out in the homeland of New Zealand a year ago. Not that time dates this kind of music – jangling, propulsive slacker guitar pop – and this trio have talent in spades, captured perfectly on Means by producer/engineer Bob Frisbee.

This kind of post punk grunge bears a massive debt to their forebears like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and fellow Kiwis 3Ds but thankfully they rise above mere tribute and replication of those bands. On Means they have carved out their own sharp and concise brand of music that eschews complications like extended breakdowns and indulgent instrumentation. They keep it tight and simple with guitars, drums and bass intertwining intricate and infectious melodies with the shouted/sung vocals.

Scream Walk surges along with a playful, frantic strum until the guitar splinters off into a wonderfully shambolic solo that leaves you wanting more. The brilliantly titled Less Chat, More Sewing is reminiscent of NZ band Loves Ugly Children or Sydney’s Further with its dirtier, desperate sound while Stoned Again time-warps back to the golden age of New Zealand indie in the 80s with a nod to The Clean and fellow Flying Nun acts. It is the best song here because it feels the most effortless. It is lazy, completely catchy and ultimately its simplicity makes it feel like a classic in the making. Yaba Ara takes a darker turn with a winding, sinister groove and some clever time changes showing another angle to Street Chant’s sound.

This is an album that wholeheartedly deserves the wider exposure it is now getting. At 38 minutes it knows its limitations and works within them with great restraint yet no complacency. For a first release this is an impressive calling card.

this review was first published on The Drum Media

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