Friends, let me put your mind at ease: Dune Rats have made another banger of a party album. The same bombastic rhythm section, the same catchy hooks, the same anthemic take on party songs, the same grunge meets Aussie pub rock meets skate punk style that marked their meteoric rise over the past decade. And as always, the Dunies make choruses that stay firmly stuck in your head, making the listener go over them like a rolly wheel. With the help of great production value, their major-label debut for BMG is nothing short of Andrew W.K. levels of a sheer, unadulterated party anthem.
Just lurking under the surface though, Hurry Up and Wait is an album reflecting on where they are in life. And like any artistic venture that holds up a mirror to its creator, the result is usually pretty gnarly. Reflecting on their vices are the bedrock of the album and sung about with alarming alacrity. Take “Rubber Arm,” for instance, where singer Danny Beugs choruses “Rubber arm bends again / Boring’s always dead / There’s a party in my head / Rubber arm bends again.” It’s admirable how self-aware the band is, but you could be forgiven for thinking maybe it’s time they consider breaking the cycle. Especially when you hear lines like “I’m always living in a state of indecision / I swear I’m quitting today / But just like that I’ve gone back / Double vision / Ah shit I’ve done it again.” Is Danny telling us something?
Sort of. The Dunies know they’re obsessed with partying. They know it’s probably too much. They probably already joke about being Slurm worms. But they’re not about to stop partying, not when a major label’s willing to shell out for the privilege.
Besides, it’s pretty low hanging fruit to blame it all on the drugs or the drinking or just partying in general. Thing is, it’s not the partying that’s the problem for the Dunies. Possibly, it’s the fear of not being able to make a living from music and touring anymore. It can be dreadful when you’re on the high wire of creative endeavour, and fading into oblivion would result in exaggerated failure. Look at “Rock Bottom,” where Danny cracks, “Met my boss, and it turns out that he’s half my age / Downtrodden, it’s rock bottom.” It’s a rough reminder of what it’s like when you step outside of the touring circuit, only to find the rest of the world kept growing up, while you’ve been stuck in the same spot.
So is this album, like, a bummer? Quite the opposite, my dude: they’re focused on partying, and nothing says party more than making music that makes people want to party. So in that sense, while it is true there’s some shit they’re clearly dealing with, they happen to be doing it really damn well.
What’s more, under the chronic and coke and smoke and brews, there are little shimmers that hint at more under the hood, so to speak. There’s a guitar twinkle in “No Plans,” a hint, a glimmer at something beatific, sophisticated. It’s a gilded edge that hints at a depth that promises to blow our hair back, should they ever want to. But why do all that shit when you can have fun?
Hurry Up and Wait Track Listing:
02. Bobby D
03. Rubber Arm
04. No Plans
05. Rock Bottom
08. Bad Habits
09. Stupid Is As Does
10. If My Bong Could Talk
11. The Skids
12. Mountains Come And Go But Aussie Pub Rock Lives On (Forever)
Run Time: 28:47 Release Date: January 31, 2020 Record Label: Ratbag/BMG