Madness - Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da

While a new Madness album is no longer front-page news, the warm reception to 2009's The Liberty of Norton Folgate suggested the band had more to offer than seeing out their time playing revival tours and days out at the races. Oiu Oiu, Si, Si ..., complete with its Peter Blake-designed sleeve, is more encouragement that this most iconic of bands are by no means spent creatively.

The overall vibe is nostalgic, but it's never a case of the band simply re-treading old glories, with the likes of the reflective 'Never Knew Your Name' a clever nod to 'Embarrassment' re-dressed as Madness-do-the-James-Bond-theme. 'Misery' has a closing-time knees-up air that they have made their own but the best track may be 'Leon', drummer Woody's 'trapped schoolboy' tale that re-captures that affinity with the dreamer stuck in the mundane. 'Circus Freaks' ("Baby, we are living the life that most could only dream of") has a grand sweep that might have been better served as the album closer; instead the Specials-like 'Death of a Rude Boy' brings matters to a close, and while it might resonate with their ageing audience, it proves to be one of the weaker numbers.

With the Olympic closing ceremony under their belts, as well as a rooftop appearance at Buckingham Palace as part of this year's Jubilee celebrations, surely it's about time for some proper recognition. Suggs, OBE. It has a certain ring, oui?



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