Album review: Chubby And The Gang – The Mutt’s Nuts
Considering only the title and that headache-inducing cartoon cover, you might deduce that Chubby And The Gang’s second full-length album is a bit of a joke. First impressions are of a Snuff-styled slice of jocular UK punk with its tongue wedged firmly in its cheek. There is a bit of that, especially as the title-track and opener kicks the doors wide open, but elsewhere The Mutt’s Nuts is both surprisingly serious and musically accomplished.
The bulk of the album is still built upon fast and raucous punk rock‘n’roll. It’s Me Who’ll Pay clatters through in hobnailed boots, all rough hooks and short, dirty solos while Coming Up Tough employs a vaguely Rancid-esque slur-along refrain and groove. But then there are the genuinely surprising moments. Take Me Home To London is a slice of roughshod balladry while Life’s Lemons adds a doo-wop twist and Someone’s Gunna Die juxtaposes really quite grim lyrics with blasts of harmonica and delightfully sugary bubblegum-pop backing vocals. Lightning Don’t Strike Twice features some brilliant blues licks and Life On The Bayou a jaunty dose of piano, but none of it sounds forced. It sounds, rather, like a band who don’t care for genre expectations and are doing what feels right for the song.
Lyrically, they’re confrontational without resorting to one-dimensional slogans, with the school-to-prison narrative of Coming Up Tough and the BLM-inspired White Rags smouldering with an intense intelligence. The latter adds a slow, sludgy groove to its righteous ire and ends up an incendiary stand-out on an album filled with great moments. The Mutt’s Nuts is the absolute dog’s bollocks, and well worth a sniff.
The Mutt’s Nuts is out now via Partisan.
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