America has a pretty bizarre relationship with Australian culture. I speculate that, as a nation, the U.S. hasn’t fully evolved past all the Crocodile Dundee bullshit from the 1980s.
If we see a real live Australian person, we don’t think of them as “Australian” unless they’re holding a can of Fosters and a boomerang and happen to mention some shrimp they intend to throw on a barbie. To Americans, Chris Hemsworth and Courtney Barnett and Hugh Jackman might as well all be UK citizens who were somehow born and raised in Los Angeles.
Enter The Chats — a Queensland trio here to annihilate our cartoon stereotypes with punk rock reality.
The video for debut single “Smoko” off their rigorous and free-to-download album Get This In Ya has been generating a healthy social media buzz seemingly without the backing of a label or publicist or any professional hypsters to speak of, which is a pretty rare occurrence.
Though clearly the work of a newly developing group, “Smoko” demonstrates some serious punk pedigree without drifting into knock off territory. This is honest rock n roll, with punchy lyrics and an attitude that’ll have you missing your youth.
But here’s what’s fucked up: Google informs me that the term “smoko” is Aussie slang for “smoke break.” And yet, neither of the characters in the video — “the bloke” sitting on milk crates or the Centrelink customer service rep — who explicitly declare themselves as “On Smoko” smoke cigarettes. “The bloke” eats a hot dog, but does not refer to himself as “on hotdogo” or “on luncho.”
Clearly I’m missing something here. Luckily, the song is a killer, so I don’t think it matters if I’m confused.