Skegss are one of those reliable bands that you know you can trust to make a bloody good skate-punk bop. Part of Australia’s famed punk scene, they bring the sunshine and the riffs and the pure, unfettered longing to catch them at a sweaty live show without fail, and the same goes for latest offering Rehearsal. When the punky noise formula is your bread and butter, though, it can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling repetitive – but good news for us, Rehearsal is also a masterclass in keeping it fresh.
Of course, there’s plenty of what we love Skegss for – good and simple, easy to go wild to, FUN. On Curse My Happiness, Skegss sing “I’m not perfect, but I’m still happy” – long a mantra for their gloriously chaotic live shows, it’s a message that could permeate Rehearsal easily. Skegss aren’t trying to make a record that shows off what strikingly excellent technical musicians they are, they’re making a record that people can party to – and that, they do absolutely flawlessly. The record comprises a huge array of on-your-feet bangers from groovy opener Down To Ride and its infectious melody, through swirling highlights like Bush TV, all the way around the world of what punk rock can do to make you feel good.
Skegss know their way around a riff, and they prove it by churning out a set of tunes that feel like they could easily blend into one, but they don’t! There’s just the right amount of intricacy thrown into every track to ensure that each one hits a distinct note, whether that’s Savour The Flavour’s 80’s-film-feeling sharpness, or Under The Thunder’s effortlessly cool moments of restraint. Skegss have ensured that there’s a balance on Rehearsal – of keeping the energy up, and knowing when to draw back and build the vibes up further, of high-octane vs easygoing, and it just serves to amplify both ends of the spectrum.
Skegss also sparkle on the album’s proper softies – not just moments of pulling back to let the noise build up before throwing us into another mosh-pit daydream, but properly stripping it back to the emotional level. They gave us a taste of it on Wake Up, a bluesy reflection that’s soaked in vulnerability and life advice all at once, and Skegss return to this on the album’s sunset, closer Lucky. Whistling and harmonica accompany the credits roll on Rehearsal in a dreamy kind of catharsis, reminding us that the reason we love bands like Skegss so much is because they feel so real, and it doesn’t get realer than this intimate recording.
Thanks to its poignant moments, Rehearsal just burns brighter at its loudest. Skegss are a real riot and they know it, blitzing through their lighthearted moments and their shout-along explosions of guitar with all the laissez-faire flair of a band who love what they’re doing. And we love it too.
Rehearsal is out Friday.