It’s not reinventing the wheel, but on the Grates’ debut EP, The Ouch. The Touch, the Brisbane, Australia trio shows there’s more to punk rock than three chords and more to indie-rock than obtuse lyrics and a fear of the modern world. In essence, the Grates are two girls (and one boy) who just want to have fun. When singer Patience Hodgson sings on “Trampoline” (over a beat ripped from “My Sharona”): “Use your bed like a trampoline/ Just for love if you know what I mean,” we know exactly what she means.
That she has a bit of Karen O‘s snarl and agro-sexiness doesn’t hurt either, but what stands out about the Grates is a sense of quirkiness many bands eschew in favor of seriousness and posturing. And even amidst these four decidedly lo-fi, and at times scattered, songs, “Sukkafish” stands out for the arena-rock ambitions of its chorus, which has Hodgson shouting: “I ain’t ever been this happy before.” Nothing on The Ouch is screaming to be taken seriously, and that’s exactly the point. The band won’t force it on you, but it’s worth seeking it out.