The Coral‘s James Skelly shows that there are no hard feelings by producing Cabbage‘s first material since their move from his own Skeleton Key Records to Infectious. It’s a partnership that throws up a spiky and engaging five-track E.P. which showcases the band’s trademark acerbic wit coupled with addressing some weighty issues, the first of which is lad culture and chauvinism, on the record’s lead track, ‘Celebration Of A Disease’, which features a twin vocal assault from co-frontmen Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin.
It’s typical of Cabbage’s humour that they could have a track called ‘Celebration Of A Disease’ on their first release for a label called Infectious, but ironically it is probably their most serious song to date; it is driven along by a foreboding keyboard riff and some mighty bass.
‘Fraudulent Artist’ is made for the band’s energetic live shows, an up-tempo rant with a killer Sham 69-style chorus and a musical onslaught reminiscent of The Fall at their peak.
‘A Network Betrayal’ recalls Half Man Half Biscuit, the band who Cabbage perhaps seem to be closest to in spirit and attitude, lines like “It’s bizarre to note how the tannoy patter varies depending wholly on how much the conductor enjoys the sound of their own voice” and “I don’t have time to be hanging around Huddersfield Station’s lovely little cafe, I’m on this train ‘cos I’ve got actual places to be” reminiscent of the work of Birkenhead’s finest.
‘Ertrinken’ is a sub-two minute oddity, perhaps the most slight and delicate thing that the band have put out yet; its relatively long intro giving way to a mysterious repeated mantra of “I kept my feet on the ground, I’ll hold you down till you drown, drown, drown”, before final track ‘Asa Morley’ picks up the pace again, a barmy vignette to the band’s own drummer. Morley is depicted “Making salad for his family” and being a “Football Manager” among a myriad of other bizarre observations.
The Extended Play Of Cruelty shows Cabbage on inspired form. Now is surely the time to finally nail that ‘proper’ debut album (a compilation is all that has appeared so far), and if this collection is anything to go by, they would do well to get Skelly back behind the mixing desk.
The Extended Play Of Cruelty E.P. is available digitally now, and is released on physical formats on 25th August 2017 through Infectious.