ALBUM REVIEW: CABBAGE – AMANITA PANTHERINA (BRASSICA RECORDS)
Throughout their time as a band Cabbage have been able to present a punk ethos in many different ways. Whether it’s a song about the class gap through the eyes of a not so all together dinner lady or a drudgey, bitter Christmas song, they always find a way to carry the punk torch that has been flickering for decades now. I’m extremely happy to report that their latest album Amanita Pantherina is no different. In fact, it’s by quite a way their most altogether work so far.
Starting off with maybe the best song on the album, ‘Leon the Pig Farmer’ feels like a coked-up argument someone is having with themselves about the pitfalls of capitalism. This then feeds seamlessly into the closest Cabbage are ever going to come to a love song with ‘You’ve made an art form (from falling to pieces)’, feeling almost Ramones-esque in the way they unapologetically over use cheesy ‘ooos’ as backing vocals.
Their assault on all your senses continues through tracks three, four and five, keeping up an unrelenting, unnerving pace and feel that is then slowed to a grinding halt with ‘Hatred’, an acoustic centric comedown from the amphetamine fuelled first fifteen minutes or so it walks the line brilliantly between hopeless melancholy and melodic optimism.
We are then unsurprisingly hurled back into ‘Medicine’, a song that mixes the intense feel of the start of the album with the heart of ‘Hatred’. This is the point where you start to realise this is undoubtedly the best work cabbage has ever come out with as the track both highlights how they have managed to incorporate a lighter feel to their sound whilst also bearing the realist pessimism that is about as intrinsically linked to cabbage as electric guitars or fucking music itself. This is also the first album they stop sounding like a Manc Dead Kennedys (in the best kind of way, it’s what got me into them in the first place) and solidify their own sound, something they haven’t managed to do consistently before but it is amazing to finally hear.
They then push on with dogged intent to the end of the album, again one of the highlights, ‘Terminates Here’ immediately sounding like the only song ever written that could’ve ended this album it does what ‘Hatred’ did but turns it up to 11. In a time where a band like IDLES are being hailed as THE punk band whilst simultaneously only speaking to a university educated lower middle class and saying fuck you to anyone that holds different views to them a band like cabbage is a much-needed all-inclusive punk band. A punk band that only punches up and instead of saying fuck you tries to open up channels in which a conversation can be had, whether it be indirectly or directly. If, like me, evangelistic punk has served its purpose for you a while ago I implore you, listen to Amanita Pantherina, if nothing else it’s an album you’ll be itching to flounce about to with your friends when we all return back to normality.