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Cabbage – Punk Rock from Manchester

Consisting of five members from Manchester, UK, Cabbage has been on the rise since 2015 with their neo-post-punk sound, energetic shows and humorous, poetically aimed lyrics to social as well as political issues. The act has gained attention from the BBC Introducing music platform, through their constant gigging around the UK and touching on topics such as the NHS, war, Donald Trump, North Korea as well as war, through their songs.

Having released various EPs for the past two years, 2017 marked the release of their debut album ‘Young, Dumb and full of…’ which saw a general round-up of their previous material. The first track I heard from this band is “Dinner Lady” from their 2016 EP ‘Le Chou’, which exemplifies the lyrical comedy of this band, discussing the hardships of working as a dinner lady in a private school, with poignant rock guitars getting intense as the chorus rolls in after the verse amazingly describes the dinner lady’s life:

“But then I ponder how hard her life must be, I mean it’s all on a plate, Thanks to mama and daddy, But regardless of the car, And this cushy job, This bitch won’t settle without corn on the cob, And then one day, I got so bored and idle, Served enough sausage rolls to make me suicidal, To combat this state I had a wank in the quiche, And I watched the head master get it stuck to his teeth” 

A mix of noisy, rough and indie blends reminiscent of The Clash as well as early Nirvana means Cabbage bring rangy, raw riffs with crazed vocals from their front man Lee Broadbent who screams and howls all at once. The band doesn’t shy away from their ideologies as well, engaged heavily in social and political issues, their track “Terrorist Synthesizer” satirizes the accusations made by Conservatives that the left-wing (Labour), sympathize with terrorists:

“Uber Capitalist Death Trade” wildly screams out about serving your country in terms of war but for people who don’t care about its consequences and only see the money to be made from it. “Free Steven Avery (Wrong America)” relates to the case in the US (check out Making A Murderer on Netflix) of a man who is allegedly guilty of a crime he didn’t commit, the song is straight-forward through its lyrics but is somewhat satirical through the melody (has a country sound/composition to it), before “Death to Donald Trump, there’s something about politics in America” is screamed out. “Grim Up North Korea” has a ballad feel to it, talking about Kim Jong-Un’s business and what he’s doing to the country and “Necroflat In The Palace” talks of cover-up stories that have come out of the royal family, defying monarchy in some sense, saying “I was born in the NHS, I want to die in the NHS.” Then “Tell Me Lies About Manchester” discusses rebellion against austerity measures, against society amongst much more defiance.

“Fickle” has stomping guitars, crazy layers but a head-banging melody that keeps it all together regarding the subject of being capricious, referencing cabbage (their name) multiple times as a ‘that’s not what we are’ theme.

Just recently, the band released another single “Gibraltar Ape”, talking about a topic which has come up recently regarding Brexit, the future of what could happen to that area owned by the British. Whilst Cabbage may seem at times a little sloppy, their lyrical touches on social and political issues makes them one of the most aware bands out there who aren’t afraid to say what they think. Their punk rock/alternative sound goes at times off-road but I still find they have a ton of composure in the direction their tracks take melodically. To sum up this band, this is the reason behind their name described by their front-man: “It’s the best anti-band name and sums us up completely. As a musician, I’ve always wanted to become a sort of Marmite-type entity and it really works. Some people love it, some people hate it – it’s great.” Love them or don’t, I think they don’t really care and that’s what sets them up for a great future ahead of them.

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