Cabbage’s previous releases were filled with rocket-rage, consisting of tracks that left your head fuzzy and your brain spinning. Their second studio album Amanita Pantherina with its delayed release, sees the band take on a more experimental and considered soundscape.
Approaching their thirties, the band naturally have a different world view to the one they had with their debut EP Young Dumb and Full Of… There is less rage or at least a less obvious rage, than with their early singles.
Amanita Pantherina hinted towards more mature, measured song writing from its first two releases, ‘Get Outta My Brain’ and ‘You’ve Made An Art Form (From Falling To Pieces). Gone was the thrashy punk, replaced by an almost psychedelic feel with refined lyrics. “It is definitely a less angrier album but the topics are still in there, embedded in the music,” frontman Lee Broadbent said about the album.
Album opener ‘Leon The Pig Farmer’ is a tribute to the spoken word performer Jack Horner. Lee saw Jack in a pub and he was telling him about a poem he had and the chilling effect it had on him, “Leon was telling me this poem in a pub garden and me having the chills running down my spine as he explained it to me,” he said. He was so inspired he went home and rejigged an old song that night, making it a hell of a lot punkier.
‘You’ve Made An Art Form’ has the distinct guitar and bass layering that is synonymous with their sound. The chorus, “You’ve made an art form from falling to pieces, You can’t iron those creases,” is brilliantly observed and highlights Broadbent’s lyrical progress.
‘Get Outta My Brain’ is a nod to the psychotropic effects on the brain from the album’s title. The guitar effects and slide make this tune sound like it came from the height of the Madchester explosion of the early nineties.
‘Hatred’ is totally juxtaposed to the song title. Filled with acoustic guitars and harmonies the track flaunts another style of singing and song writing for Cabbage. The track is about being entrenched in views that have no place in a modern society, “His view are as old as the factory walls, gender assumptions in spite of it all,” sings Broadbent.
The album closer ‘Terminates Here’ sees Lee almost crooning a la Nick Cave with lyrics about letting go and change, “I’m gonna lose you I wouldn’t choose to, don’t need reason I’ll change with the seasons”.
This album has more turns and tumbles than ever before and they could not have fitted many more different styles into it without sounding disjointed.
With a more mature and well-rounded sound to their heady days, Amanita Pantherina shows just how versatile Cabbage have become.