Madness - One Step Beyond (Deluxe)

Madness are indisputably one of the greatest singles bands of all time, indeed there are five solid gold classic singles on this fifteen track debut album alone. It would be stretching the fabric of reality somewhat, however, to suggest that the albums released by the self styled nutty boys were ever considered as anything more than a vehicle for collating the singles amongst a sea of filler.

One Step Beyond is a case in point, opening as it does with three of the most memorable chart singles of the era. The bone fide pop classic of ‘My Girl’ is the meat in the filling of two ska-lite rave ups; ‘One Step Beyond’ and the ludicrous school disco floor filler ‘Night Boat to Cairo’. It seems ridiculous to say about a 40 minute album, but there are just too many tracks on here, many of which are above average period pub rock, which ultimately just serve to dilute its impact. What could have been a genuine classic ten track album, augmented by the fantastic ‘Bed & Breakfast Man’ and 2Tone debut single ‘The Prince’, becomes stretched a bit thin, ending on a particularly weak note with the perplexing boot camp chant of ‘Chipmunks Are Go’.

The quality of the extras in this deluxe 30th anniversary reissue make up for these shortcomings however and the pain of a ludicrous skanking cover of ‘Swan Lake’ is ameliorated by the inclusion of the innovative videos for each of the five singles found on the album. Disc two is a similar goldmine of material, of which the highlight is a vibrant four track Peel session. The Spanish and Italian covers of ‘One Step Beyond’ are superfluous but a Mike Barson demo of ‘My Girl’ proves to be illuminating. Add to this the cream of the Work, Rest & Play EP and you’ve got an attractively packaged, bargain collection of classic British pop memorabilia.

Overall

7

out of 10

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