harder yakkaHarder Yakka – Shandy (Bovver Boogie Records)

If there’s a higher energy rock and roll band in Greater Brisbane, weight-for-age, you know our email address. Only Dr Bombay comes close. So why wouldn’t you be onto this collection of pre and post-pandemic recordings faster than a Moreton Bay seagull on a chip? 

Remember sharpie rock? Shandy covers that base but with less overt boogie and more of the sort of rock rhythm that rolls. 

Recall Oi? The shout-out choruses are still here but the kicking is more to do with excising jams than taking off rival soccer fans’ heads. “Harder Yakka” has a larrikin charm that’s Australian-made, due in no small part to the distinctly Antipodean crunch in the guitars.

Shandy is unapologetically retro in their bovver boy schtick but contemporaneous in their approach. Chorus meets hook in boy-meets-girl vignettes. Melodies rule. Jeff Lovejoy’s production is uncluttered and tidy and resists the temptation to throw the dial all the way to the ‘70s. This album could easily sit on most rock and roll station playlists.  

High-energy rock and roll never gets old, even if it’s dressed up in suspenders and Doctor Marten boots. 

Shandy is an assembly of old heads from a host of Brisbane punk and hard rock bands but vocalist JJ Speedball and bass player Vik are the founders and driving force with their shared love of junk shop glam and Oz rock. 

The album-proper has 10 tracks with another six slung in as CD bonuses. Presumably, the extras are the woodshedded tracks from pre-lockdowns.  

There’s ample variety to keep the interest up if you’re prone to a short attention span. “Do The Stomp” is derivative and a little corny but it’s still fun. A dash of sharper-than-shit slide and ‘ahhh’ backing vocals make “Something For You” stand out from the crowd. “Bish Bash Bosh” might not be an intellectual piece of song-writing but it’s catchy as a cold. 

The live energy doesn’t translate 100 percent to disc – how could it without JJ climbing all over your stereo demanding you dance? – but it’s an infectious album even without the theatricals. 

After multiple overseas tours and the support of their German label Contra RecordsShandy has a bigger fan base in Europe than in Australia, but there’s no time like now to catch-up. And “Harder Yakka” makes it easy to do so. For your copy, drop an email here.