Label: Lucky 7 Records Release date: 3/08/09 Website: Official Website Madness, around since 1976, are famous for their fun pop/ska - a less sincere The Specials, you could say. Continuing to perform together, and looking as dapper-but-silly as ever, Madness are still making music. It doesn't matter that their music is the same as before, with the same instruments, the same savvy working class lyrics, the same regional accent over the top. It doesn't matter because it's fun. Right? From new album The Liberty of Newton Folgate, 'Sugar and Spice' is Madness gone entirely sane: they know exactly what they’re doing. The pop tune follows the same formula as all old Madness hits: a sprinkling of off-beat organ, a little electric piano, a few brass notes in the chorus, familiar rhymes like 'knew' and 'you', 'one' and 'son' (and a few more memorable ones like, ehem, 'Marks & Spencer’s’ and 'senseless'.) The lyrics have aged a little, drenched in nostalgia - "tell me what has become? Weren't you my number one?" - and they're noticeably in the past tense. Other than that, this is classic Madness, if not as fresh and quirky as it seemed thirty years ago. I want to hate ‘Sugar and Spice’. I want to say it's all been done before, by them and loads of other people. I want to say that it's average and dull. But it's hard to hate this track, with its infectious little chorus, tambourine all the way through, and lovely hiss on the word 'nice'. It's good pop, and well-produced, regardless of how often it's been done before. I could imagine it will please mums everywhere. Secretly, it quite pleases me too. I still play it back to back with 'It Must Be Love' though, to remind myself what Madness are at their best. Rating: 6/10 Buy: Amazon