Madcap Under Suspicion

If Rancid were just a little more polished and in tune with vintage new wave-y punk and mod, Madcap would be completely redundant. But where Rancid are so deeply fixated on becoming the new Clash, Madcap's diversity of influence gives them a fresh, albeit familiar, sound. Album number three finds the SoCal cats channelling the likes of such icons of the late ’70s underground as Elvis Costello, the Jam, the Buzzcocks and, yes, the Clash too. There are elements of reggae (not tired old ska) and new wave (not the wimpy-synth kind) but the 11 tracks also brim with a modern energy and some killer pop hooks and melodies that makes them sound more like an homage than gratuitous rip-offs. (Victory)