Mad Caddies – [Album]

Wednesday, 04 August 2010

In order to understand why exactly Mad Caddies merit a “greatest hits” or “Best-Of” compilation (even the band itself admits in the liner notes of Consentual Selections that, in the strictest of terms, there aren't any “hits”), one has to recognize just how much love for the band has endured since it formed in 1995. Keep in mind that this is a group who has only issued a new record every two or three years, but has been kept on the road by fans in near perpetuity – the demand for the band has just been that consistently good. Why? Because The Mad Caddies are just that good; this is a band that survived the ska craze of the Nineties by not being just ska (like Royal Crown Revue, Mad Caddies has a bit of swing mixed into those great horn lines) and has emerged from every passing punk gimmick and craze unscathed because they're never tried to pander to anyone; fans of the Mad Caddies like the band for what it does – not what it could do. Even so, calling anything the band has done a hit would be over-reaching, and that's why Consentual Selections is a compilation album made by committee. Here, the bandmembers did pick a few songs they liked, but they also opened the song selection process up to the fans via their website so what Consentual Selections actually represents is an 'Any Requests?' comp that fans and the band can stand behind as a set of songs that everyone associated with the group loves.

Those that have never heard the Mad Caddies before will agree that the twenty-two previously released songs (twenty-four, if you count the unreleased song from the Keep It Going sessions included here, and “Why Must I Wait,” which “will be on [the band's] new album”) on this record are pretty great. There are no wild departures or deviations from what was really, really working for the band on albums like Rock The Plank, Just On More and Keep It Going, these really are just the songs that everybody likes; no punk can ignore the infectious groove and swingy horn meltdown of “Leavin” and balls-out swing-punk of “Falling Down” and “Monkeys,” nor can they deny the manic, high-speed ska (if you've got a Mighty Mighty Bosstones LP, play it at 45 RPM and you'll get an idea) of songs like “Merry Melody,” “Silence” and “Road Rash,” or the fantastic dub-bish and stoned tranquility of “State Of Mind,” “Days Away” and “Backyard,” they're just too good. In each of those cases too, the band never loses itself to any one turn, and simply sounds like the single greatest band of its' type ever to walk the earth – forget Sublime, Mad Caddies are the next comparable group and they're better, tighter and more infectious than their peers.

Still harboring doubts at Mad Caddies' faculties as a band as you read this review? Look at it this way: after fifteen years, the band asked its' fans what should be on a best-of album and this set of songs was the one that everyone agreed upon. The songs on Consentual Selections are those that fans would play for their friends to get them hooked on the band and ultimately become supporters as rabid as they. For that reason, this is absolutely the best place to start listening to the Mad Caddies if you weren't there in the beginning.



Consentual Selections is out now. Buy it here on Amazon, or directly from the Fat Wreck store here .

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