Cabbage - Young, Dumb & Full Of....

by Sean Hewson Rating:6 Release Date:2017-04-22

Young, Dumb & Full Of... collects the 12 songs from Cabbage's last three EPs (Uber Capitalist Death Trade, Necroflat In The Palace and Terrorist Synthesizer). And it costs just £3.99 so they're undoubtedly top chaps. I saw these fine, young fellows in Reading recently and they were wonderful. However, before I get into this I should confess that I am almost entirely humourless when it comes to music.

The album opener, Uber Capitalist Death Trade, starts like The Wedding Present. It's total, high-energy Punk with shades of The Fall and maybe some Non-Alignment Pact by Pere Ubu. It's exhilarating, Punk done the right way. Fickle is more bass driven and again quite Fall-like. A terrible but fitting guitar solo appears. The rudimentary stabs of electronic noise again call to mind Pere Ubu.

Things start to go slightly awry with Tell Me Lies About Manchester - a list of obscure and famous Manchester legends that also borrows from Adrian Mitchell's To Whom It May Concern. Apart from the swipe at Oasis, I don't need any of it. It's not as big or clever as it thinks it is. Mark and Lard probably did something funnier on their radio show in the 90s (I wouldn't know because I don't listen to joke music).

Free Steve Avery is obviously a reference to the Netflix series Making A Murderer. They also take Donald Trump down. To be honest, this is beneath them. It's as childish as the Mary Chain's 'I wanna die like JFK' nonsense and doesn't sound half as awesome as Reverence. Apart from giving the NHS some much needed support with the brilliant 'I was born in the NHS, I wanna die in the NHS' line, Necroflat In The Palace is again not doing anything that I particularly like or need. Indispensable Pencil is more promising though and borrows from The Cramps and the early Horrors. It's a total, beautiful onslaught.

But Cabbage slip back into bad habits with It's Grim Up North Korea, which is the sort of punning title that made me hate Carter USM. Cabbage don't have the wit, wisdom or chord progressions to pull this kind of Punk epic off in the way that The Dead Kennedys can. Although as a Liverpool fan and entry-level human being, I appreciate the nod to Hillsborough. I think Lias Saoudi does this stuff way better for Fat White Family and, particularly, The Moonlandingz. However, come back because Dissonance is much better with its 70s CBGBs vibe. And this good run of form continues on Terrorist Synthesizer (oh, how I love a pun), which is the slow Cabbage song that works. There is further joy on The Road To Wigan Pier which is their best riff coupled with a steal from Orwell. It is the song where all Cabbage's unruly elements come together best.

Unfortunately, the following cover of These Boots Are Made For Walkin' is entirely pointless. And so to the album closer - a song called Because You're Worth It that lasts almost 9 minutes just fills me with dread. As usual it's well-intentioned but the chords and playing are not interesting enough to sustain it. I wait for the end like I waited for the end of Double Maths on a Wednesday afternoon.

At their best (and they can be very good) there's something about the energy, excitement and garage riffs of Cabbage that reminds me of the early Horrors (still a lot of people's favourite version of that band). However - like their name, album title and cover - Cabbage are part good idea, part jejune nonsense. To be fair to the lovely lads, these are EPs and some of the material sounds like it should best be hidden on a b-side. On the plus side, they are a fantastic live band, their hearts and minds are undoubtedly in the right place and this album is half a good album. I'm backing them to one day smash out a brilliant 30 minute album of high-energy, scruffy Punk with acerbic lyrics.

Overall Rating (0)

0 out of 5 stars
  • Bob Coyne

    You need to live within a 40 mile radius of Manchester to understand the in-jokes of Tell Me Lies About Manchester, I thought it was spot on. I do hold a lot of hope for this band. I didn't know you were a Liverpool fan either Sean, check out the video where they also have a little swipe at The Sun.