Madness – Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da

Ska-pop legends Madness have notched up a milestone. Oui Oui… marks their 10th studio album, and it’s a pleasingly perky LP, with an unabashed spirit only occasionally reigned in by a few moody detours: The lust-ridden lament of ‘Never Knew Your Name’ and the prickly ‘Death Of A Rude Boy’ splash new colour into a gleeful canvas.

Beautifully textured, the record surely ranks as one the most intricate Madness have ever produced. Best of all, there’s still room for the band’s simple pop sensibilities to breathe. Madness, however, aren’t chasing any bold artistic statements here. Shunning ambition and experimentation, Oui Oui… depicts a band more concerned with having fun. They barely branch out from their exotic ska-pop bread-and-butter, delivering a familiar brand of frivolity. The sprightly swagger of ‘My Girl 2’ and the boppy ‘Misery’, while highlights, don’t really add anything new to the Madness canon.

If Madness were ever to embark on an 11th album, a radical change of pace would be required. Anything less would be indicative of a band spinning their wheels, playing it safe.