Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Cooking Vinyl Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
With their constant Madstocks and concerts, Madness never went away, but their 2009 album The Liberty of Norton Folgate -- their first album original material in ten years -- felt like a full-fledged comeback, a return to the brilliant form of 1982's The Rise & Fall, the album that firmly positioned the band in the grand tradition of British pop. Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da, the 2012 sequel to Liberty, proves the 2010 comeback was no fluke, with its equally clever and confident collection of savvy pop and ska, tunes that are effervescently melodic, lyrically nimble, and giddy with their dexterity. With an opening song that posits itself to be an explicit sequel to Madness' signature hit "My Girl," this certainly recalls Madness' new wave glory days, but Madness is under no illusion that they're still a young band.
Age and passing time get the odd look-in on the 10th Madness album. Suggs snuffs "faint wafts of nostalgia blowing gently on the breeze" at one point. But Oui Oui Si Si… is an affirmation of the evergreen joys of the band's giddy ska-pop. A little paunchiness suits the skanking bounce and wobble of their songs and a good time brassiness dominates even on the more meditative tracks.
Oh, cruel irony, thy name is Suggs. “Communication is a skill you must acquire… it is essential”, he gurns on ‘How Can I Tell You?’. Pray tell then, sir: why are you half-arseing your way through such a thick slurry of clod-hopping ska-by-numbers? Or wallowing in pits of cliché (‘So Alive’), flapping your bits about and chasing fillies down the local disco (‘Never Knew Your Name’), or grinning your way through frivolous ditties (‘Misery’)? When you can no longer squeeze into your old ‘You don’t have to be mad to be in this band, but it helps’ T-shirt, it’s time to hang it up for good.Ben Hewitt .