Monday, February 3, 2020

Chubby and The Gang - Speed Kills

I'm often indecisive about whether or not I should be writing about releases that are already well-publicized. But usually it comes down to one thing: if I think a record is great and that my readers would like it, I just let 'er rip. So add my name to the chorus of praise for Speed Kills - the rip-roaring debut album from London's Chubby and The Gang. I dig this record because it's an absolute blast! This is the sort of wild, youthful punk rock that cannot be rightfully ignored by a blog that calls itself "Faster and Louder". Given the Oi! and hardcore background of this band (members of Arms Race, Violent Reaction, Gutter Knife), the degree to which this album is influenced by '70s U.K. punk and pub rock might be a little surprising. But it's that unique blend of inspirations that gives this group so much juice. This is like pub rock on steroids! Chubby and The Gang marry the pure energy of early Damned to the boisterous first generation Oi! of Cockney Rejects and then run it all over with a Motörhead steamroller. The term "street punk" has been so overused over the years that I've been very reluctant to invoke it. But if ever I heard an album that truly defined what I think street punk is supposed to be, Speed Kills would be it. These are songs inspired by and written for the streets of London: played with a brash, teeth-smashing force and packing choruses so rousing that it would a terrible shame to sing along without a pint of beer in hand. And while the poppy roots rock of "Trouble" and the impassioned Bragg-ish ballad "Grenfell Forever" make for effective changes of pace, this album overall exudes the spirit that punk music played with this much power and conviction simply can't be stopped. Crank up that volume, hoist your fist in the air, and get yourself inspired to go out into the world and kick some ass.


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