Review: Skegss are off to a ripping start with debut EP ’50 Pushups For A Dollar’

Finally. Finally we get our mitts on the debut EP from Byron Bay legends, surf punk extraordinaires and one of my favourite (if not holding the top spot firmly) Australian bands to come out of 2015: Skegss.

Titled 50 Pushups For A Dollar, it’s out today via the freshly-minted Ratbag Records. It’s a pretty momentous occasion; the very first record by the very first band signed to Dune Rats very own record label. It’s short and it’s sweet at a mere five tracks and a running time of just shy of 15 minutes, but by God is it as auspicious as fuck as a kickoff record is going to get. When I’ve been asked to describe Skegss to people I’ve usually gone with the simple phrase ‘Australia’s answer to FIDLAR’, a comparison that is meant in the best possible way, and this record is going a long way towards solidifying it, given the successes of that band.

Grab a beer and kick back in the Friday sunshine for this one.

Sophomore single Eat It launches 50 Pushups straight to 100. A headbanging, footstomping cracker of a track. The riffs are loud and chugging and pure Ramones, frontman Ben’s vocals rocking an extra layer of grime on them as he shout sings about their burning desire to trot the old globe and stop in for a meal in every country that will have them. The sight of sticksman Jon air drumming with a dart in his mouth in the accompanying music video is, to put it simply, just fantastic.

First single FUN follows it up, pumping the brakes with some scuzzy chord progression. There’s an equally as lighthearted message behind it, the title appropriately in all capitals because it’s the driving force behind just about everything Skegss does. It’s their unofficial theme song and it brings the house down live.

New York marks the midpoint and it’s an interesting choice of title. The sound and feel is as if it was recorded on the corner of Bleecker and Broadway, it’s bluesy and it’s brilliant, almost a rattier version of some of the earlier work by Manhattanites The Strokes. Next up is Hell, a sub-two minute stabbing chunk of the punkiest surf rock, the chorus awash with sha la las that contrast some snottily disdainful lyrics. It’s still bleeding it’s that raw.

Wrapping it all up is the ballad Heart Attack, which finds drummer Jon stepping out (possibly for some beers and Chinese food) and Ben stripping back his vocals as they bounce over the cleanest riff on the whole record, one that tangles with bassist Toby’s riff excellently. It’s icing and a cherry on top of a no filler, all killer debut record from Skegss.

50 Pushups is the cap off to as fine a year for a young band as you’re likely to see. They’ve signed their first record deal, they’ve played to raucous crowds at festivals like BIGSOUND and Sounds Of The Suburbs as well as a massive set at this year’s Splendour In The Grass, they’ve had an Australian headline tour of their own that damn near took the venues they played in to within an inch of their lives and they’ve taken their surf punk sound to the West Coast of the United States. They’re due to take 50 Pushups For A Dollar on tour as well and we look forward to it, and whatever the New Year brings, for this band, so very thoroughly.

We’re banking on big things for Skegss, and this is just the beginning.

50 Pushups For A Dollar is out now via Ratbag Records