It’s Funky Friday! First up: ergh, what is that funky smell? Did you boil it too long?
Iain Mew: I first heard Cabbage with “Dinner Lady,” which is the most awful and regressive song in a while. This one is a big improvement, in that it merely sounds like a particularly ham-fisted and overly long version of one of Blur’s throwaway ‘punk’ songs.
Alfred Soto: The suspicion that they’re singing a bunch of words they think sound cool is unshakeable. Do they almost get away with it? Yes.
Crystal Leww: All the press about Cabbage wants you to know that their songs are political. Cabbage wants you to know that music these days just isn’t sending a message. Cabbage also probably think that classism and racism are the same thing. Tired of these politics that dudes get from reading one book!
Mark Sinker: So I try not to lecture people too much about getting UK punk wrong, even though nearly everyone does: I think because, while it matters to me as a shaping element of my long-ago youth, I no longer think it matters that much to the world. Or more exactly, all the ways it mattered at the time were long ago absorbed, for good and bad, and anyway half its effects turned out disastrous. Who needs a long old-person rant about the past being better — and besides, how can it have been, if we ended up with the present? This isn’t a long song (3.23), but it feels it, because the pell-mell start — with the singer somehow occupying someone else’s frazzled mind — opts much too soon for repetition, of a not-that-great title as a stance-mantra telling the sheeple how it is. As it is, their good points — exactness of guitar-based ear mainly, plus a likeable willingness to push towards timekeeping brinkmanship and a somewhat vaguely stated interest in higher intellectual ambition — tend to slump over into will-this-do self-congratulatory chortling much too quickly (look how pleased with themselves they are about responses to their name). I don’t think they’re idiots, but if they were generating the energy they claim to want, the people that mainly like them would be upset, and the people they disgust would (some of them) find their antennae unwillingly sparking. What Cabbage mainly need, which they very much don’t have, and are unlikely to inspire, is a broad-front squabbling cohort of contemporaries to test and hone themselves against, a cohort that induces its own cultural-political vertigo, the vertigo they briefly achieve in their sound, a cohort that (to be all 17th century for a second, because that’s how old I am) quickens itself. Plus a truer sense of how to centre the contradictions in the hooks.
Tim de Reuse: It’s 2017 and I think it’s absolutely necessary that we spend some time yelling about some disgusting structural elements of western civilization and that we sound like obnoxious teenagers while we do it. And, most importantly, have fun! How else will we keep our heads screwed on? (N.B. As much as I am determined to forever cling to my post-punk revival revival revival indulgences — I can’t deny this one is too stylistically by the numbers to merit genuine excitement, no matter how much fun it’s having.)
Claire Biddles: I lived through sets by support acts on Libertines tours in 2002; I do not deserve to go through this again in 2017.
Katherine St Asaph: The nice thing about spending the ’00s in a music-listening bubble is that I didn’t receive whatever received wisdom tells one they must hate this perfectly energetic, presumably pointed track. Still reserve the right to dock a point for each time these guys have taken an Uber.
Mo Kim: The writhing electric guitar and shapeshifting bass line do more to capture a sense of unease than the lyrics and meal-mouthed vocal delivery can muster.
Madeleine Lee: Even as I’m repulsed by their desperation to be brutally incisive, I’m drawn on a base level to any music that sounds like the Dead Kennedys being reanimated via electric current. And I appreciate that theirs is the kind of desire to be brutally incisive that makes them pick a dada name like “Cabbage” over, like, “Slaves.”
Megan Harrington: Everything about this song sucks. The faked up Dead Kennedys-lite sucks. The critique of capitalism from within the strictures of capitalism and while seeking to benefit from capitalism sucks. The waft of nostalgia for implanted memories sucks. The slimy besuited homage to The Hives or The Walkmen or The Bad Seeds sucks. An absolutely worthless waste of time.
Maxwell Cavaseno: You know, at least they had the decency while nicking the Biafra vocal style to throw an obvious homage title, they know better than to try and get one over on people. They could’ve done the whole “Nah mate, John Lydon” lie, and it would’ve been a decent illusion, so good on them for speaking the truth. That said, they’re still a Brit-Band and they had to do their absolutest to ensure that the song representing rebellion and dissonance was still a danceable NME-Ready JAM OF THE MONTH MATE. Doesn’t matter if you’re injecting it with statements about how capitalism gives you existential despair, you still ended up writing a song as run of the mill as “She’s Got Standards”!
Thomas Inskeep: The thing is that the Dead Kennedys were a shtick; they weren’t actually that good. Cabbage don’t understand that, but with a name like that and a single titled “Uber Capitalist Death Trade,” would you really expect otherwise?