Published On: Sun, Nov 19th, 2023
Music | By MDN

Madness: Theatre of the Absurd Presents C’est la Vie review – the Nutty Boys and Martin Freeman’s music hall act | Madness

In the wider world, “letting Rishi be Rishi” might be being revealed as sheer folly, but the stated aim of the erstwhile Nutty Boys’ 13th album was to “let Madness be Madness” – and that proves a far more palatable proposition. As with most of their occasional releases this century (this is their first album in seven years), the feel is far more “contemplative music hall” than the immediacy of the ska-inflected pop that made their name more than 40 years ago. This is accentuated here by having Martin Freeman acting as a compere, formally announcing each of the different sections of the album.

It doesn’t quite match the standard of late-career high point The Liberty of Norton Folgate (2009), but the album is not without its moments: Round We Go builds from a melancholic verse (“God’s gift, but no one wants to know him”) to a gloriously uplifting chorus; In My Street finds Suggs in reportage mode, his slightly bleak lyrics (“There’s 10 full black bin bags blowing round the gaff”) acting as a counterpoint to the fonder take on domestic life that was depicted in Our House.

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