Oddly enough this is the second record I’ve reviewed recently based around mushrooms or fungus how weird?  To be honest I didn’t have a scooby what ‘Amanita Pantherina’ was all about and I’m still none the wiser other than I wouldn’t want to ingest any.

Those boys from the North West or Mossley to be precise are back and this time they have sneaked under the radar without any big splash or fanfare and slung a post-punk, post indie post-pop whatever you want to label it record. Maybe wearing a cap fitted by the likes of The Fall or super Furry Animals and a whole lot more besides Cabbage simply write top tunes with wit, humour, clever, abrasive political lyrics and a whole bunch of suss and cool thrown in for good measure.

Live they are a joy a heaving mass of exactly what a live band should sound like and effortlessly hitting the spot with a beautiful noise. I’m not sure if this is the difficult second album or the third joyful cutting loose and experimental one that’ll fuck with you.  Either way its Cabbage doing what Cabbage do best – Just getting on with it.  Writing tunes that flow (even if they don’t) and subtle earworms that burrow in and hatch over time.  The laid back acoustic strum of ‘Hatred’ sits uncomfortably next to throb of ‘Medicine’ with its menacing bass thump and jarring chiming guitar chords its all good stuff mixed in with the 80s inspired key stabs and weird sample noises jumping out of my speakers.

The album’s opener is a right to do entitled ‘Leon the Pig Farmer’ with its rapid racket of guitars thundering along whilst they follow it up with a tune that already sounds like Cabbage if they have a particular sound that is.

Cabbage manages to mix bands who propped up scenes like Madchester maybe a Black Grape with some DK’s or Killing Joke and some PIL for sure just listen to the roar on ‘Once Upon A Time In The North’ its abrasive and dark but always engaging.

‘I Was A Teenage Insect’ God knows?  I don’t but the keyboards are 70s pop mixed with some alternative from the post-punk fall out maybe this ones calling for a keytar when we get back to live shows it could be Abba on acid Marc Almond would approve of these shenanigans as would Marc Bolan if he were still here. ‘Direct-Dictate’ is a twisted Glam Rock riff twisted into a dreamy pop melody.  Head well and truly fucked!

‘Piles Of Smiles’ might be the one that inspired the album artwork and album title. Which only leaves ‘Terminates Here’ to slow dance us out of this one.   A gentle exit if ever there was one, so far from the album opener yet as the album winds and twists through each track its the logical conclusion to a hugely impressive album.

Don’t store this in a dark place let the dim light of fame shine upon these loons and maybe just maybe the kids will all want to play guitars and write loud songs.  The future can be theirs even with a name like Cabbage!  Fuckin’ nutters.

Buy ‘Amanita Pantherina’ Here

Author: Dom Daley