It’s not a name that particularly suits them, as it sounds like it should belong to some wacky novelty act doomed to one-hit-wonder status. The band display far more craft and ambition than their name suggests.
The 4-piece formed in 2019, initially as a side project of the members of other groups of Gold Coast’s rock scene. The experience gained from their former bands is evident on the five highly polished songs that make up their impressive self-titled debut EP.
Opening track ‘Consolation Prize’ is a prime slice of laid-back melodic rock. Matt Hansford’s drawled vocals are reminiscent of Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, a band that’s clearly been a strong influence on them.
‘Genie’s Lamp’ starts with stately gracefulness, with crooned vocals draped over a gently strummed guitar. The song then gathers pace, becoming a punchy rocker in the style of the Strokes.
By contrast, ‘Sleep With Me’ is slow and dreamy, with a deliciously fuzzy guitar solo that brings to mind the Isley Brothers’ 1970s classic ‘That Lady’. It’s one of several moments on the EP that reveals the band’s fearlessness in drawing on vintage rock sounds.
The gear changes again with ‘Outcast’, an urgent and moody track that features impassioned vocals and a guitar solo that pings around like a pinball.
‘Adelaide’ ends the EP on a gentle and reflective note. With a melancholy air and yearning lyrics, it’s a song to fall asleep to after a night of overindulgence.
Chutney’s take on skinny-jeaned indie-rock may not push many musical boundaries, but they display a real talent for old-school songwriting, especially when it comes to rousing choruses and zippy guitar solos.
Despite the goofy name, Chutney is a band to take seriously.