Saturday, 20 April 2013

Chumbawamba - In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher

"Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of all Margaret Thatcher’s victims," a statement from Chumbawamba, seven years after recording their EP awaiting her death. The anarcho-punk band sold In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher at their shows in 2005, promising people to release the actual content on the day of her death - so here we are. This is a 10 minute EP dedicated to the passing of Margaret Thatcher. Chumbawamba's political stance in the 80s never changed, even after years of commercial success and line-up changes, Chumbawamba carried on opposing the iron lady.

In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher isn't an attack on Thatcher; it's a statement of rebellion showed by many bands that were active during the 80s, and the artists of present day Britain. Although Chumbawamba moved over from opposing left-wing politics in the 00s and became almost regretful of their pop boom and began opposing modern day relics and modern music without its twists and turns, with The Boy Bands Have Won. This album also included one the only songs written about Charles Darwin, "Charlie". 

It opens with a 20 second introduction of YouTube cuts of news pieces and speeches regarding Maggy. Jude Abbott then sings straightforward lyrics to the chirpy "So Long, So Long". A 50 second Spanish segment called "Pinochet Bids Farewell From Beyond The Grave", in relation to Augusto Pinochet, the former President of Chile.

"The Day The Lady Died" is a 90 second cutting and clipping of more speeches, stories and Abbott singing on top of a swanky electronic beat. It brings back a lighter, somewhat empathetic version of their fantastic anti-fascist classic "The Day The Nazi Died". Then the 30 second "Ring The Bells" evokes the British citizens passion of protest with campaigning the track "Ding Dong!" from The Wizard of Oz. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' "The Tears Of A Clown" can be heard in the opening seconds. 

One of the only direct songs on the EP is "Waiting For Margaret To Go", sang by Abbott once again. It's a splendid Chumbawamba track with all their usual characteristics, with the premise of not having to wait for Maggy to die. The EP ends with Chumbawamba singing a lullaby to Maggy, passing her on to the other side. A delicious closer with harmony. In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher works as a stand-alone, freebie EP. It was sold in 2005 with the promise of Thatcher's death, and that's the catch here. If In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher was released prior to her death, it wouldn't be as important, and nobody would probably care. Knowing that Chumbawamba went into the studio in 2005 to record an EP for their fans against Thatcher is both comforting and dedicating to their whole ethic. Chumbawamba passed away in 2012, but they kept their promise and delivered their EP with samples galore and Frankie Boyle's comedy. This is an interesting listen, but it doesn't cover deeper themes and only tackles the death of Thatcher, which is where In Memoriam: Margaret Thatcher falls short.