The Bennies – Natural Born Chillers

Natural Born Chillers is somehow already the Bennies fourth album. I still remember my first encounter with this band; I was at a house, I’m not sure who’s house, but it was a Mexican-themed pre-party for a Guttermouth show at The Corner Hotel. There was a skate ramp, people on the roof, Guttermouth cooking a free mexican barbecue & pouring tequila in peoples mouths and on the makeshift stage (a rug on the floor) The Bennies were playing in sombreros. It was one of the more strange experiences of my life, but everyone was happy, friendly and it pretty much fits The Bennies stoner-ska-punk style. At that stage, The Bennies had only one LP, Party Party Party which I bought and enjoyed and their live shows were fun and friendly. At some stage though, the ‘lads’ caught on that their shows involved party songs, alcohol and weed and decided to come along and ruin it for everyone. I was a fan of their second album, though due to their fans I never gave their last album a reasonable listen; that wasn’t fair on the band. Natural Born Chillers, is obviously a play on words of the colloquial term “natural born killer” and pays homage to the bands laid back and party approach to life; the album cover is weird but I wouldn’t expect anything less.

I’m writing this review on the same day as my first listen to the album, I’ve probably heard it through twice before I start writing so it really is based on first impressions as much as anything. The overall sound and feel of the album isn’t going to be a surprise to anyone familiar with the Bennies music. The first song, “Get High Like An Angel” has a fairly Bennies title and opens with Anty’s signature yelling over the intro, rap-style but with reference to aliens which is cool. It doesn’t take long to notice that the Bennies have added in some horns for the album which is a nice touch for a ska band, and really lifts the song. This is a musically fun song as it transitions between chill-out ska and punk a few times and of course carries The Bennies typical stoner-based lyrics. While the second song, “Dreamkillers”, isn’t entirely emotional, it is nice to hear The Bennies sing about something other than getting high as they support the listener to “break away from the people who destroy you. Chase your dreams and do what you wanna do”.

The title track of the album, “Natural Born Chillers” comes in at song four on the short eight song album. In this one they are back to singing about partying and getting high as you might expect but it’s the most ska song The Bennies have released and damn its fun. This one doesn’t dabble too much in the punk side of things and stays with the poppy ska sound, complete with horns, to make for a song to smile too. I can imagine this one playing on a road trip or a summer day while cooking a BBQ and knocking back a few beers.

This album is short, and the songs are largely typical Bennies’ songs about partying and getting high so I just want to touch on one more before I wrap up this review. Trip report is a weird spoken word number that is almost like La Dispute’s Hear Here written while massively high. I think it is Wil Wagner of The Smith Street Band that speaks through the first verse, recounting a story of “bogging a whole bunch of shrooms” then taking his dog for a walk and his encounter with Peter and his dog Mo, coming to the extentential realisation “Anyway, got me thinking about man’s humanity, man’s best friend. Man? humanity to man? Fuck it’s pointless. Maybe that shits genius. That shit is genius”. Moving on to the second verse, Craig of The Bennies (I believe) recounts a story of a windscreen washer on what I picture to be the corner of Nicholson St and Alexandra Pde, washing his windscreen despite a request not to. This leads to an accusation that “you weaselled me you bastard”, particularly when not having enough cash for a coffee at the $10 minimum on card cafe. I feel your pain, we’ve all been there.

Overall I was impressed with the quality of this album and it made me smile. It feels a bit more grown up than previous Bennies albums, though you can’t forget it is The Bennies.


Matt Power
20 March 2018

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The Bennies Natural Born Chillers

Artist The Bennies
Album Natural Born Chillers
Released 02 February 2018
Label Pool House Records
Tracks 8
Run Time 23 minutes
Genre Ska Punk

The Bennies Natural Born Chillers