Garage meets post-punk in Cabbage’s self-described “collection of EPs”. From thrashing riffs to rolling basslines, the electrifyingly brutal sound of ‘Young, Dumb And Full Of…’ is somewhere between Dead Kennedys and White Stripes, with Lee Broadbent’s vocals reminiscent of a Mancunian John Lydon.
From the first bar of ‘Uber Capitalist Death Trade’, Cabbage let the listener know that this an album worth paying attention to. From the heavy, sludgy bass-filled instrumental of ‘Fickle’ to the repetitive, rhythmic, sliding guitar of ‘Tell Me Lies About Manchester’, to the bluegrass sections of ‘Free Steven Avery (Wrong America)’, every song is a slightly different adaptation of the post-punk genre. Musically, each track puts the listener slightly on edge, building throughout towards an explosive instrumental middle eight or ending. This creates a sense of relief, allowing the listener to be completely taken over by the raw passion of the music.
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It takes a lot for a nearly 9 minute-long, largely instrumental piece to hold the listener’s attention, but Cabbage manage this flawlessly. ‘Because You’re Worth It’ begins as a low-key, bass-heavy track, and gradually builds into a masterful entanglement of post-punk and psychedelia. However, Cabbage are unapologetically punk in various points throughout the album. In a similar vein to legendary punk rockers Anti-Nowhere League’s ‘Streets Of London’, the collection contains a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’. The initial use of samples creates a disconcerting atmosphere, the racing drums are almost frenzied, and its complete deviation from the original style gives the track as much credibility as the classic song.
One of the stand-out tacks of the album is ‘Necroflat In The Palace’. 60’s vibes and rolling bass lend themselves perfectly to this witty take on a political landmine. Any song containing the phrase “I was born in the NHS, and I’ll die in the NHS” deserves to make ripples throughout both the musical and political worlds. Whilst it is one of the less hardcore songs on the album, the musical tone perfectly contrasts the aggression and passion provided in the lyrics, almost adding more credibility to them.
Cabbage’s intelligent and often satirical lyrics give a much-needed voice to a generation of British 20-somethings living in a society dominated by those who attended the correct schools, or who were born into the right families. Often controversial and politically motivated, these cleverly crafted lyrics offer a much-needed social commentary on the everyday injustices so many of us have learned to ignore.