On their second and latest album, LA’s Madcap think back to a time when punk was catchy but not cloying. They go straight to the source on a cover of Blitz’s "New Age," a souvenir of ’80s oi! punk that pushes in a new-wave direction without unlacing its Doc Martens. The band’s original material is similarly rousing, attacking themes of friendship and disillusionment with beery choruses and adrenalized beats.
Frontmen Alfredo and Johnny split the singing and guitar duties, and they’ve both learned well from barroom-punk predecessors like Rancid and Dropkick Murphys. On "Hometown," they hear the West Coast calling but they’re stuck in a crappy New York hotel, and all they can do is raise a glass to the open road. "Parental Advisory" is a riotous anthem about running out of money and moving back into your folks’ place; "Situation Breakdown" calls for an end to "destruction in the streets" with screeching guitars and choruses of "whoa-oh-oh." Madcap’s song has been sung before, but theirs is a refreshingly heartfelt voice in today’s overwhelmingly commercial punk world.
(Madcap open for the Explosion and One Man Army this Tuesday, November 19, at T.T. the Bear’s Place in Central Square. Call 617-492-BEAR.)