Madness, 'The Liberty of Norton Folgate'

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The Liberty of Norton Folgate
Critical Mass
Label: Yep Roc

by David Peisner

Despite being enamored with ska's Jamaican skank, Madness never forgot their working-class British roots. And the band's first album of new material in a decade owes a greater debt to the Kinks than to Prince Buster. London landmarks (the Hippodrome, Marks & Spencer) add sharp details to memories of a soured relationship on the piano-and-organ-led "Sugar and Spice." The similarly wistful "Forever Young" weaves horn lines over minor-key piano plaints and a loping backbeat. It all looks backward unabashedly -- fitting for a band formed 30-plus years ago -- but no less resonant.

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