SKA-POP LEGENDS IN FINE FORM ON TWELFTH OUTING
While still retaining traces of the ska influences that initially propelled them into the charts in the ’80s, Madness have long since evolved into exemplars of a peculiarly English tradition of songwriting, typified by iconic bands like The Kinks and The Beatles.
Their twelfth album Can’t Touch Us Now continues the tradition, with wryly-observed sketches borne of life’s hard experience. Recorded under the watchful eyes of long-time collaborator Clive Langer and Liam Watson at Toe Rag Studios, the band turn in 16 tuneful tracks of trademark plinky-plonk piano and rasping saxophone.
As Suggs strolls the streets of Camden, his gimlet-eye takes in the heroes and villains on every corner. There’s the priggish ’Mr Apples’, furtively winging his way down the street – up to no good but sanctimoniously critical of anyone else who might be.
Later on in Soho – who’s this tottering through the puddles in pencil-skirt, stiletto heels and mascara’d eyes with “just a peek of pink La Perla bra”? It’s Amy Winehouse on a date with destiny. Or there, ducking out of the bookies, it’s ‘Pam The Hawk’ ripping up another failed betting slip: “She’d be the richest woman in all of the West End/ If every single penny earned she didn’t spend.” If you want to know more you’ll have to buy the album. Do it – after all, we all need a bit of Madness in our lives.
Can’t Touch Us Now