Under Suspicion

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Their label made a strategic error by putting a cover sticker on this album comparing Madcap to the Jam, the Clash, Rancid, and U2, among others. By doing so, they've set up listeners to snort with disgust at the program's one-two opening punch, a lightweight pop-punk song called "Keep Dancin'" (complete with handclaps), which is followed by a lightweight pop-punk love song called "Lovesick." It's not fair to the band, because if you judge those songs on their own merit, they're just fine. Same goes for the rest of the album, which features a time-honored combination of crusty punk rave-ups and hard-skanking Two Tone reggae. None of it is groundbreaking, but all of it is lots of good, snotty fun. Highlights include those first two songs, a nice mosh-pit shoutalong called "Youth Explosion" (which actually kind of sounds like an outtake from the first Police album, with better production), and a relatively laid-back reggae-rock number called "Midnight Strikes." There's a bonus CD-ROM track that includes photos, a brief in-the-studio documentary, and one additional song. Recommended.

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