Sunday, August 16, 2009
THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE BY MADNESS
Madness was for me The Beatles of the Ska movement of the early 80’s associated with Two Tone records….By that I mean they were the band that moved away the most from the original sound by evolving and growing that original sound until it was something quite new and remarkable.
Keyboardist Mike Barson was seemingly the heart of the band as well as its founding member and to my mind its best songwriter….When he left in 1984 after KEEP MOVING (my favorite Madness release), the band never recovered.
Various touring reunions aside, the original seven members including Barson did reunite in 1999 for the WONDERFUL album which was basically four great songs and a lot of filler.
That’s why I am happy to say that Madness’s first album of new material since then THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE is fantastic….Filled with nods to the bands reggae/ska roots as well as the gigantic pop grandeur they were know for later, at times it’s as good as anything they did in the 1980’s.
Lyrically, there is not as much Ray Davies-type social criticism and identification with the lives of average working peoples as there was in the heyday but that universal sense of humor is still there and this is a band that knows how to write love song….I’m not talking about sentimental nonsense-I’m talking about the genuine feeling….Listen to THAT CLOSE for an example of what I am talking about.
Awhile back I wrote about the usual lack of success of band reunions even bands that I liked http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2009/04/few-thoughts-on-band-reunions.html ….THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE might be one of the most successful reunion albums of all time