Chumbawamba - ABCDEFG
Chumbawamba? Aren’t they that ‘Get Knocked Down’ band? You hear that a lot about the 'Wambas and I fully expect more of the same as I sing the praises, to anyone who will listen (and some that won't), of their new album ABCDEFG.
Singing the praises is a very apposite way to start off, as this a concept album about a subject dear to all our hearts, music. For better or for worse, music has been a driving force for change, both good and bad, throughout history and here Chumbawamba delve right in.
A short and sweet ‘Introduction’ leads us in to ‘Voices, That’s All’ a toe tapping folk story that harks back to a time when communal singing in a local pub was common place. What a shame we can't get that ethos back. We are then treated to album highlight, ‘Wagner At The Opera’ a stirring marching song about the protest by a Nazi concentration camp survivor at a performance of a Wagner opera by the Israeli Symphony Orchestra. It's the kind of subject matter few bands are brave enough to cover - and even fewer will then move on to a cheery little ditty about ‘Torturing James Hetfield’. Who among us hasn’t dreamt of doing just that?
There are joys aplenty on ABCDEFG but going in to too much detail would spoil the fun of discovering them for yourself. Having said that, special mention should go to album closer, ‘Dance, Idiot, Dance’ – a response by Chumbawamba and the No Masters Collective to the right wing British National Party’s decision to infiltrate English folk music and ‘reclaim it’ in the name of racist bigotry. There couldn't be a more fitting way to end what is, overall, an excellent album.
With ABCDEFG, Chumbawamba have produced an album that should appeal to anyone who isn’t blinkered by a 13 year-old perception of a band that has been producing exciting and challenging music for over 25 years.