A party-hearty fusion of middle-finger punk attitude and unapologetic hard rock guitar raunch, Dune Rats are part of a long tradition of snotty, good-time, punk-adjacent bands from Australia. Playing fast and loud like their forebears, and celebrating good-natured bad behavior of all sorts, on 2017’s The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit, Dune Rats threw in a playful tunefulness that kept the songs punchy and engaging, as well as a broad sense of humor as effective as it is immature. It became a major hit in their homeland, and a listen to 2020’s Hurry Up and Wait or 2022’s Real Rare Whale confirmed that success wasn’t about to change them.
Dune Rats formed in Brisbane, Australia during 2011 when two stoner buds, guitarist/vocalist Danny Beausa and drummer BC Michaels, decided to make a bunch of lunkheaded punk noise together. They performed shows with various friends roped in to play bass and released a couple of EPs, Sexy Beach and Social Atoms, during their first year together. They continued a steady stream of live shows and singles over the next two years, releasing “Fuck It” in 2012 and “Red Light Green Light” in 2013, while the Smile EP also came out that year. By this point, Brett Jansch, a member of fellow Brisbane group Bleeding Knees Club, had become a fixture on bass. Dune Rats recorded their self-titled debut album in 2014, releasing it on their own Ratbag Records imprint. The stripped-down, party-time punk sound connected with fans in Australia, leading to the band getting slots at prime festivals, including Laneway in 2015.
Their second album, The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit, was produced by FIDLAR’s Zac Carper and opted for the same no-nonsense, all-fun approach. It was released on Ratbag in early 2017.
For album number three, Dune Rats traveled to California to record with producer John Feldmann, best known for his work with blink-182 and 5 Seconds of Summer. 2020’s Hurry Up and Wait was cleaner and more precise than their earlier releases, but no less frantic or funny. It was released on Ratbag in early 2017, and debuted on the Australian album charts at Number One, as well as scoring a nomination as Best Rock Album from the Australian Recording Industry Association’s ARIA Awards. For album number three, Dune Rats traveled to California to record two songs with producer John Feldmann, best known for his work with blink-182 and 5 Seconds of Summer. January 2020’s Hurry Up and Wait – which featured the Feldmann tracks as well as nine self-produced tunes – was cleaner and more precise than their earlier releases, but no less frantic or funny. It also rose to the top of the Australian charts, and they set out on a tour that ended with a sold-out show in Melbourne on March 7, 2020. Their timing was excellent, as the COVID-19 pandemic put Australia into lockdown just a week later. Touring was put on hold, and after taking a break for a few weeks, they headed to Eden, a small fishing community in New South Wales, where they isolated together and worked on songs. Determined to make an album that was typical rowdy fun in the Dune Rats tradition and not a typical introspective “lockdown album,” the guys delivered Real Rare Whale, which included the single “What a Memorable Night,” a tribute to alcohol-related short-term memory loss. The LP was released by Ratbag, with distribution from BMG, on July 29, 2022. ~ Tim Sendra & Mark Deming, Rovi