The Bennies - Heavy Disco [EP] (Cover Artwork)

The Bennies

Heavy Disco [EP] (2014)

Poison City Records

If you’re looking for something to soundtrack your next house party, you don’t really have to go much further than The Bennies. Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, The Bennies could very easily rival Andrew W.K. in the partying department, if their Heavy Disco EP is to be believed. Touring slots with acts as such as Adolescents, Dead Kennedys, NOFX and fellow Australians The Smith Street Band have seen The Bennies international profile heavily increase over the past two years, while they remain firm festival favourites in their home country. The Bennies overall sound betrays their Melbourne roots, they run the gamut between hard-hitting pop punk, ska and even flat-out reggae at times (the group personally describes their sound as "Psychedelic Reggae Ska Doom Metal Punk Rock From Hell”). Imagine The Aquabats having a jam session with Sublime and you wouldn’t be too far off from the mark. The songs on Heavy Disco contain enough anthemic choruses and super-sized hooks to sink an ocean liner, while the bands hard drinking, hard smoking, hard partying attitude makes itself known the minute the guitars kick in.

Lead singer Anty’s heavy Australian accent might make certain parts of Heavy Disco seem inaccessible to those not from down under, but the band let their instruments do most of the talking anyway. The high presence of a korg synthesizer on some of the tracks might leave you scratching your head, but it works surprisingly well in the context of the EP. “Heavy Disco” is the most hard rocking track on here, with an absolutely monster riff mixed in with with an eerie synth line that keeps you on your edge. “Stay Free” opens with a bouncing ska stroke rhythm, which contrasts heavily with the synth pads flowing underneath. However, the track's melodic chorus is pure pop punk at its finest. “Party Whirlwind” is about the closest the album comes to ‘third wave’ ska punk, complete with requisite horn section. It feels like it’d fit perfectly next to Goldfinger or Less Than Jake on an old Tony Hawk game. Every track on Heavy Disco sounds like it’s ready to explode, out of sheer energy and determination.

“What’s Your Fuckin’ Problem?” starts out with a trippy dub rhythm, until a record scratch drops and the track explodes into a fiery pop punk riff, before the track launches into the same rhythm as “Stay Free”. The Bennies definitely aren’t a fan of traditional song structures, preferring to keep listeners on their toes wondering what the hell they'll do next. The final track, “Green Mix City” is the one dud on an otherwise pristine EP, with the group seemingly taking their pot smoking obsession a little too far. Sounding like an outtake from 40oz. To Freedom, it makes you wonder just how baked the band happened to be when they were laying down the mixing for it. Nonetheless, you can’t fault the other four tracks when it comes to cohesion and sheer audacity and grit, that's for sure.

The Bennies are part of a tradition of Australian punk bands that combine party-friendly vibes, a carefree attitude and a downright fun instrumentation. Like their forefathers in Frenzal Rhomb and Area-7, they manage to maintain a keen musicianship, while also cramming as many weed references as they can into a 14 minute EP. But most important, The Bennies clearly don’t give a fuck about trends or tradition, they’re happy to lay down a synth line under a rocksteady beat, before quickly launching into a chugging hardcore riff as they please. And that’s what makes Heavy Disco so fun, The Bennies manage to throw in everything but the kitchen sink into their repertoire without it sounding awkward or too forced. Heavy Disco won’t be signalling an impending ska revival, but it should provide you with some catchy riffs, along with a checklist of synonyms for the word “intoxicated”.