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(Credit: Chubby and the Gang)


Chubby and the Gang drop Valentine's Day EP

Chubby and the Gang - 'Labour of Love' EP

UK punk rockers Chubby and the Gang have returned to drop a surprise brand new EP for Valentine’s Day, Labour of Love.

According to frontman Charlie Manning Walker, the idea for the EP was originally just going to be single for the song ‘Who Loves Ya (Coup d’état)’. Eventually, the project sprawled into a video and an additional two songs, ‘Twice Shy’ and ‘Ain’t There No One?’, filling out the rest of the EP.

“We had the idea to do a Valentine’s Day single and I sort of wanted to show all the angles of love. Warts and all,” Walker explains. “Quite often it’s not such a smooth experience. Can often feel scary and insane. So I wanted to write a bubblegum song about it but also show the duality of the emotion.”

‘Who Loves You’ certainly has a catchy chorus at its core, but the prickly nature of infatuation come out as the group careens and crashes its way through one of their most blatant pop songs yet. Chubby and the Gang are experts at contrasting their aggressively ugly punk roots with a surprising eagerness to incorporate melodies, harmonies, and other softer elements without compromising the loud, fast, and snotty sounds at their centre.

‘Twice Shy’ is a more direct shot of skate punk, getting lost in a torrent of distortion, shouted vocals, bashing drums, and breakneck tempos. It’s over and done before you can ever catch your breath, and represents the least-commercial side of the band. This is a band that doesn’t have zero commercial aspirations, but only because songs like ‘Twice Shy’ can let them lean back on not bending to any modern trends or lighter sounds.

‘Ain’t There No One?’, meanwhile, is another track straight out of the pop-punk playbook. In the grand tradition of everyone from Ramones to Green Day and Adolescents, the Gang understand that pop and punk have a symbiotic, or occasionally parasitic, a relationship that can benefit and destroy each other in equal measure. It’s all about how much you lean into and how much fun you let yourself have, with Chubby and the Gang having more fun than anyone else this Valentine’s Day.

I can’t remember the last time an EP was this short, but everything is closed up before they even hit the eight-minute mark. It’s a breezy, batshit crazy present from a band whose sophomore album The Mutt’s Nuts was released last year. Heavy and hardened pub punk is once again back in vogue, and while bands like Skegss and Amyl & the Sniffers are spitting loogies at the rest of the rock world, Chubby and the Gang are probably doing the most to bring as many fence-sitters as possible into the exciting underworld of punk rock.

Check out the three-song Labour of Love EP down below.