House On Fire is Mad Caddies latest release, and it’s an EP rather than a full length album, which is rather surprising as it’s their first release in quite a while (especially considering it’s also their 25th anniversary.) It’s probably best to see the EP more as a stopgap between albums, but it’s a welcome stopgap nevertheless.
By Jane Howkins
If you’re a Mad Caddies fan then you probably know what to expect by now – pop/rock tracks with some ska/punk elements thrown in there for good measure. They’re often advertised as being a ska punk band, but if we’re being totally honest, the band’s music often leans more towards the pop/rock movement, and the tracks on House On Fire are generally of no exception. That’s not to say that they aren’t good songs though, there’s just nothing earthshattering here. The ska elements are present on all the tracks here, but they sometimes seem to take a backseat to the rest of the music.
Opener Let It Go is the main single release for the EP, containing a reggae swagger and a catchy chorus melody that could find itself bothering the charts. It has that ‘summer anthem’ feel to it, which makes it a little disappointing that the EP is being released at this time of year instead – it’s a strong opener though, and one that will go down well live. Waiting For The Real Thing has more of a rock and roll swagger to it, reminding us somewhat of the rock music that emerged in the 50s/60s – that may sound odd, but it really works, and it’s one of our favourite tracks on the EP.
Strange Days is up next, being more of a straight up pop/rock track than the other songs displayed here. It’s our least favourite song on the EP – the melody is pretty good, but we found the overall sound of the track to be a little generic. Dogs Of War shows a completely different side of the band, with no brass instruments being heard at all until the end of the first chorus – there’s almost a country bent to the track, but it’s such a catchy track that we can overlook this. Wake My Baby is the final song on House Of Fire, showing more of a punk edge to it than most of the other tracks here – the tempo is faster than most of the other songs, although it still has something of a country feel to it (more like Social Distortion than Conway Twitty though).
Overall, House On Fire is an EP worth buying for Mad Caddies fans, but if you’re new to their music then we’d recommend checking out some of their other stuff first. It’s not a bad EP by by means, but it occasionally comes across as a little generic, and it’s a shame the brass instruments aren’t put to more use. There are some good tracks on offer here though, and the short nature of the release means it won’t cost you too much to sift through them, so by all means give House On Fire a whirl!