Music Review: Chutney (EP) by Chutney

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Chutney are a four-piece indie rock band from Gold Coast, Queensland. All four members hail from separate local bands, Augusta, Hot Coffee and the Stingin’ Rogers. The Australian indie rockers combined in late 2019 to bring their love of lyrical indie rock into one fully-fledged outfit and Chutney was born. 

Having labelled themselves as ‘condiment rock’ the band have recorded an Instagram review series called ‘Chutney by Chutney’. Although this combined with the comedically styled name suggests that they are a novelty band, Chutney are most definitely a band to be taken seriously. 

Their first two singles released received excellent response from fans and charted in the top five of the Triple J Unearthed charts. Recorded at Lovestreet Studios with Scotty French (Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys), the self-titled release is the first EP from the Australian outfit.  

The opening track Consolation Prize offers a laidback and carefree vibe upon initial listening. However, this tuneful track offers more than the cruising melody suggests. With lyrics that are comparable to that of a lovesick teenager but without the cringe-worthy angst, Consolation Prize has a storytelling quality that becomes more prominent throughout the duration of the track. 

A waltz-like tempo is met with a drawling vocal line to pull the track along at a steady pace. The band’s influences of Catfish & The Bottlemen and Arctic Monkeys are apparent in Consolation Prize, however, Chutney have put their own flair on these styles to create something that is entirely their own. 

The second track Genie’s Lamp showcases softer vocals than what was heard on the opener Consolation Prize. A strummed guitar accompanies the wonderfully gritty lead vocals which work together to present an impassioned performance. 

It does not take long for this track to come to life. The drums kick in after a short section of guitar and vocals to amp up the energy of this release. An upbeat tempo makes Genie’s Lamp a standout track. 

Although the vocals are obviously an important element of this track, the guitars are what makes it great for me. They add interest to the track with a short but captivating solo section.

After the upbeat Genie’s Lamp, third track Sleep With Me shows a more mellow side to the band. The soft vocal tone and candid lyrics work together to create a dreamy landscape which the listener finds themself lost in.  

Next up is bold track Outcast. With a sound which would sound great in a live setting, the energy of the EP is once again at full vitality. The delivery of the lyrics holds an urgency which translates into what can only be described as classic indie-rock angst. A tonne of angst is something that can only be expected from a track titled Outcast and with this comes a heavier sound which has not yet been heard from Chutney. 

The already full-on track ups the ante when the punchy drums kick in and a guitar solo creeps in after the second verse. The solo ricochets to and fro with a bright tone which brings up the mood of the volatile track. 

The EP’s focus track Adelaide is the perfect song to play when the night is winding down. With a more atmospheric vibe than what has been previously heard from the self-titled release, the track works as a great closer. 

The layering of instrumentation and harmonies shows a complex side of the band which was shown in small amounts throughout the EP but really shines in Adelaide. 

Again Chutney’s storytelling talents are on full display. The lyrics yearn with the wistfulness and ecstasy that follows a relationship whether that be new or in the past. With an unhurried, yet purposeful sentiment Adelaide explodes into an emotive ending. 

The vocals are akin to the likes of Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Matthew Murphy of The Wombats, with a music composition which would not seem out of place in the early 2000s. Chutney’s self-titled EP is reminiscent of early indie-rock and shows that the band have a flair for songwriting and storytelling.  

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