I first heard of Australian band The Bennies through The Smith Street Band. I was watching a live video of Don’t Fuck With Our Dreams from The Fest 12 and during an introduction to the song they mentioned this band called The Bennies who are their best friends. With a spare evening on my hands I decided to check them out by reviewing their album Rainbows In Space. Here is what I thought.
Naively I assumed that because The Smith Street Band play folk punk songs that The Bennies would do the same. I was extremely wrong. It was very closed minded of me to think because one band plays a certain type I shouldn’t assume that their friends must do as well. You may have gathered that I love punk rock music; one of my oldest and dearest friends (except when he challenges me to do stupid things for hugs and doesn’t pay up) loves classical music. But I digress......as soon as I pressed play The Bennies excitable, high energy sound hit me like a balloon to the face, it was time to party!
Kicking off the record is the synth heavy Party Smashers. The synth accompanied by a thumping drumbeat and lead singer Anty’s raw singing style where is Australian accent is very distinct. Straight away this song has you banging your head and wanting more. The Bennies follow up this chaotic opener with the excellent ska punk song, Anywhere You Want Go. The upbeat guitar riff and the bouncy bass line will have you skanking instantly and the chorus of “he! Ho! Anywhere You Wanna Go” will instantly be stuck in your head and you won’t be able to help but sing along.
Ice Cold Beers And Juicy Juicy Buds is a more restrained song. The energy and upbeat nature The Bennies have already laid down in the opening couple of songs is still there but it all feels more controlled. The feeling of restraint continues with Sensi-mi. This is a slow reggae punk song. I should maybe mention now that The Bennies sing a lot about drugs, and many of their songs reference them. Sensi-mi is one of them, ignoring the politics of people’s opinions on drugs you can’t help but smile at some of the lyrics in the song.
Track five, It Goes Without Saying is another instant party starter. The raw ska style is back with some great gang vocals during the chorus. I imagine this is great fun in the live arena, getting sweaty and having a good skank in the pit for the verses before grabbing the nearest person to you, putting your arm around them and belting out the chorus as loud as you can with the band.
Track six is another chilled out song on the subject of the drugs. The bass takes the lead in this song accompanied by some DJ scratching and some guitar upstrokes. The song is pretty simple and if you’re a fan of stoner rock you will love it. Knights Forever picks the tempo back up, it’s a song about youth, when you would stay out until the sun comes up. It’s another song with an extremely catchy chorus, some more gang vocals and a fun handclapping section.
There is a brief musical interlude with the psychedelic License To Chill which calms the party down until the next track Highrider begins. Another high octane crowd pleaser with a catchy chorus complete with some na na na na na na’s , fun ska beat and some great fist in the air moments.
Hold On goes back to the reggae punk style, this slows the party down for a moment the next song Frankston Girls blasts off. This song hits you like a train, with by far the heaviest riffs on the album. This is a full on hardcore song, Anty’s hardcore screams put many singers who are in the genre to shame with its raw animal like screams.
The party returns to a more happy smiling good time with the next song, Westgate Wednesday. It’s a short skankable song complete with the ska war cry of “pick-it-up-pick-it-up-pick-it-up. Auto Party Pilot is another high energy chaotic song and is one of the more aggressive on Rainbows From Space. Anty screams out “we don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn” and “King Kong ain’t got shit on me” either side of a brilliant guitar solo from guitarist Jules. The album finishes with Sky High. Combining many different styles including reggae, electronica and dub Sky High brings this party a close with satisfying conclusion.
Rainbows In Space is a brilliant brilliant album. I’m a huge fan of ska punk music and this is as good if not better than anything I’ve heard from the genre in quite a while. And it came from such an unexpected source. It made me want to dance whilst I was typing this, it had me singing along after one listen, it reminds me why I love ska music so much – its bloody good fun! Now all I want to do is see The Bennies live, Anty, Jules, Bowie and Craig if you’re reading this find a way to get other to England now. I want to come to one of your parties.
Stream and buy Rainbows In Space here: https://thebennies.bandcamp.com/