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Madcap - Under Suspicion (Cover Artwork)

Madcap

Madcap: Under SuspicionUnder Suspicion (2004)
Victory Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I gave a pretty cold review of Madcap's previous record and I stand by that opinion. East To West suffered on a number of fronts, but mainly because it's post-Rancid street punk came off as far too diluted from it's 70s source material to be relevant. Sure the band wrote some catchy songs, but their.
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I gave a pretty cold review of Madcap's previous record and I stand by that opinion. East To West suffered on a number of fronts, but mainly because it's post-Rancid street punk came off as far too diluted from it's 70s source material to be relevant. Sure the band wrote some catchy songs, but their devotion to a sound that has been so driven into the ground betrayed their ambition and stifled the energy that a youthful, committed band could bring to the style. I liked East To West on the few moments where Madcap broke pattern and stretched their legs outside the "fist-in-the-air anthem" corner they were painted into. So it's quite a pleasant surprise that Under Suspicion sounds like it does.

So what's different this time around? For one there's a lack of gang vocal driven anthems, Johnny's far more comfortable actually singing and the band's quite capable of writing hooks that don't require sing alongs to keep the listener engaged. Madcap seems to be drawing more from early Elvis Costello or The Jam nowadays and they've moved their Clash fixation forwards from Give Em' Enough Rope to London Calling. You can see this as new wave and ska influences are very tastefully worked into the band's songwriting, most overtly in the reggae influenced title track and the horn driven "Searching For Ground." The Madcap of ol' would not (and I'm assuming could not) write endearing, low-key tracks like "Lovesick" or "Midnight Strikes."

The real change here is that these songs sound natural for the band. Both vocally and instrumentally nothing seems forced or half-hearted. That's likely the reason the Madcap's old material never connected with me: for a young band that's in it for the long haul there's not a very interesting future as the poor man's U.S. Bombs. Of course the group's current direction is going to bring fans of their old material out of hiding express their distain, however with the consistently high volume of street punk out there Madcap's place at that table won't be missed by many.

There's something about Under Suspicion that I'm quite taken with. I can't really put my finger on it so it's likely a combination of a number of things done right. There's a maturity and confidence in the band's songwriting that feels far removed from the band I knew. They still suffer from somewhat generic lyrics, however their delivery sounds more sincere and that helps. If anything, the band they were may be the one thing holding them back today. In the past Madcap's been stuck supporting mainstream pop-punk acts, but if they're truly devoted to making this new direction connect they'll find their audience in a crowd that's a few years older.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
RightCliqificus (April 24, 2004)

I just saw these guys open for Pennywise at the Showbox in Seattle. They started rough, but I really began liking them after a bit. At first I thought they sounded too much like rancid, and I fucking hate Rancid. The world doesn't need anymore rich rockstars pretending to be street punks, like Tim Armstrong. Fucking mongoloid. Anyway, I'd never heard Madcap before, but I thought they sounded a bit Bouncing Soul-ish live in a few songs. They overall made a good impression on me. The opening opening act was Cigar. They were pretty decent too.

Anonymous (March 5, 2004)

I don't know what the rest of these nerds are talking about but hey I think that new madcap album's pretty good.

"jljlj/lll"

Anonymous (March 4, 2004)

The Shadow had been a pulp magazine since the early 30's... I prefer The Sandman, but he was one of the hundreds of Shadow rip-offs comic companies tried to cash in with... I have the first two volumes of "All Star Comics", though, and the Sandman stories stand up better than most others in the art department.

-BSD

Anonymous (March 3, 2004)

go to www.madcaplovesick.com to hear lovesick acoustic.

Anonymous (March 3, 2004)

"JSA are the best. They have fucking Sandman! No one can kick that guy's ass. He's a Shadow rip-off!"
-BSD

BSD,

Yes, I agree: Wesley Dodds is awesome. Who the hell is the Shadow? How can Sandman be a Shadow rip-off; Wesley Dodds Sandman made his first appearance in Adventure Comics #40, which was in 1939!

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

amazing record, best thing ive bought this year.

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

JSA are the best. They have fucking Sandman! No one can kick that guy's ass. He's a Shadow rip-off!

-BSD

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

I dig Madcap, don't get me wrong, but has anyone else noticed that Under Suspician is exactly the same song as Watching the Detectives. Now there's few better to be influenced by then Elvis Costello, but Madcap ripped that shit off to a T, right down to the surfish guitar riffs and reggae bass line... pretty lame

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

Alan Scott is the one and true Green Lantern.

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

In addition to being the world's greatest detective, Batman can never be mind-controlled because he has martian technology in his cowl.

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

Dude, the JSA can totally kick the JLA's ass.

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

JLA rocks!

Anonymous (March 2, 2004)

This album shows such versatility! Alot of new albums have been lacking just that. I'm impressed!

JJ""

trashy (March 1, 2004)

nice work guys! Love this record!

Anonymous (February 29, 2004)

This band fucking blows. Id rather watch these guys butt fuck their own parents, rather than watch these guys play music.

Anonymous (February 29, 2004)

Giving a Bouncing Souls vibe is NEVER a bad thing.

Minor Threat

Anonymous (February 29, 2004)

madcap..

do they sound like a mix between madball and capdown?

Anonymous (February 29, 2004)

After hearing "Stand your Ground" I was really starting to like these guys, but this new cd is pretty dull. I haven't heard "East to West."

Eddie (February 28, 2004)

no

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

i didn't read the review is this a ska band?

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

i didn't think it's a bad thing either, just making a point.
-J

adam (February 28, 2004)

A lot of this record gave me a Bouncing Souls vibe Janelle, not that it's a bad thing in my mind.

-adam

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

Does "Lovesick" remind anyone else of Bouncing Souls? I don't know why, but to me it just does...

-Janelle

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

The Jam as an influence is never a bad thing...

-BSD

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

Dare i say this is fucking brilliant,they blend alot of old school punk and mod a la the jam and put together the first good cd of the year,open your minds people,great-oldpunker-

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

fantastic...give yourself the time to take the album in and really look into the heart poured into each song...it's johnny taking the singing duties all by himself...new guitar player...and the best druming to date...this album has been mixed perfect. you get a band that is moving up the ranks and look for them to be dancin` with the best of them...

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

Madcap is awesome! I have not heard the new cd yet, but it sounds great. I really liked East to West, its a lot better than the first cd.

Eddie (February 28, 2004)

I like Madcap.

Anonymous (February 28, 2004)

when i listened to it, with a big "Going for Top 200 Radio adds" sticker staring me in the face, all i could think of was "why the hell does this song have a techno beat" and "damn, these guys are jumping on the new rock bandwagon a little late i think. They were never really that good, but at least they used to sound like they were having fun. This seems like an album made at gunpoint, either move units or get dropped. Reminds me of the suicide machines s/t album. a bunch of forced crap, at least they arent wearing suits in the press photos

notfeelingcreative (February 28, 2004)

Boring? Huh, I think it's really fun, yet completely unoriginal!!!

Anonymous (February 27, 2004)

score is for victory records.

Anonymous (February 27, 2004)

this album is real boring.

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