Now normally, you gotta admit, ska is a bit like musical Marmite: you're either going to love it or hate it. But then you've got Madness, who really do take it one step beyond. Their sheer exuberance and joie de jouer, combined with some thumping good tunes, can carry any audience beyond a fundamental dislike of the genre: it's almost always impossible not to tippety-tap along.
Anyway, Londonist got hooked way back, and so we're delighted to note that they have a new album out. We haven't heard all of it yet, but if it isn't their most successful album to date we'll eat our baggy trousers. It is an absolute masterpiece: an urban opera, full of dark pathos, and yet utterly uplifting. The tracks we've heard feature intelligent lyrics and, most importantly, are all dedicated to our metropolis. (The name, incidentally, refers to the state of a bit of street between Bishopsgate and Shoreditch.) Sugs and friends are not just cool cool cats: they clearly love London and love what they do. This album is aces, and other reviewers seem to agree.
The band are off on a leisurely world tour, but you can catch up with them at Madstock in Victoria Park in July.
Image by Annie Mole under the flickr Creative Commons Licence for commercial use.