Seems most everybody - left, right, underground, mainstream, young, old - hates Chumbawamba. Really, it's hard to find anybody to say a good word about the men and women of this thirty year old British anarchist musical collective. (If you suspect MRML of rhetorical exaggeration, read the blistering responses to this Metafilter post about the band)
"Sometimes a melody is louder than a shout."
But maybe everybody is wrong. Yes, Chumbawamba's anarcho-propaganda might wear on some but they write these folk songs that seem immediately ready for a thousand-voice, Goodnight-Irene-style sing-along so effortlessly that it's alarming. Since they've stripped down to a small group and gone fully acoustic (a direction I've been hoping they'd go in since 1989's English Rebel Songs - still possibly their finest work) they've gone from strength to strength.
ABCDEFG a concept album about music (if I've kept you this far, please don't stop reading yet) is full of tunes your Grandmother (if you're grandmother was Emma Goldman) could strike up on a picket line to rally some match girls but with words that belong to our fucked-up 21st century. I could go on and on but perhaps check out a few songs in the faint hope that I might soften the resolve of a Chumba-hater or two.
Just to show how well the band works with an audience, here's a May 2010 bootleg, I've called "Live Ammunition".
01 Voices, that's all
02 Song on the times
04 Add me
05 Wagner at the opera
06 Thatcher in memoriam talk
07 So long, so long
08 Singing out the days
09 You don't exist
10 Stitch at the time (Stitch that)
11 Fade Away
12 Tritonus talk
13 The Devil's Interval
14 Ratatatay talk
16 The Day the Nazi Died
17 Torturing James Hetfield
20 El Fusilado
22 A Love Letter to Margret Thatcher from General Pinochet
24 On e-Bay
25 Bella Ciao
Live Ammunition link is in the comments
Speaking of comments are you a fan or a Chumba-hater?