Christopher Wardell talks Madness ahead of their new album and December visit to the North-East.

SINCE 1979, Madness has been one of the UK's most successful acts, producing numerous hit singles like One Step Beyond, Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love and Our House.

An amazing 44 years after the release of their debut single, The Prince, the London-based band is set to release their new album, Theatre of The Absurd presents C'est La Vie, this month, then follow that up with a nationwide tour in December which will be stopping off in Newcastle.

The Northern Echo: Madness will be showcasing their first new album for seven years when they visit Newcastle

The Nutty Boys have always had the ability to write a catchy tune and produce wonderful music. Even after they threw away the 'Nutty Boy' tag in the mid-1980s they continued to hit the charts with the likes of Michael Caine, One Better Day and Yesterday's Men, and their new album shows they're still not afraid to change their sound.

The Theatre of The Absurd presents C'est La Vie is the band's 12th studio album. On it the group sounds tight and musically united, with the chaps having the freedom to produce the songs themselves without the watchful eyes of Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley at the controls.

Suggs is on top form throughout, his vocal delivery on Hour of Need recapturing his delightful 1980s tones, while the splendid theatrical parables of Theatre of The Absurd and In My Street would shine brightly on any West End stage.

The piano-driven backbone provided by Mike Barson is once again evident on Round We Go, Beginners 101 and If I Go Mad, all of which give a nod to past glories, while The Law According To Dr Kippah and What On Earth Is It You Take Me For? are both crunchy and eccentrically delivered by saxophonist, Lee Thompson.

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Trumpeter and vocalist Chas Smash left the band in 2014 and currently lives in Ibiza, so Madness are a six-piece these days, but the recent C'est La Vie single and Baby Burglar both go back to their original organ-enthused 'nutty sound'.

The seven year wait for new material is finally over – Madness has returned to make us smile again.

Theatre of The Absurd presents C'est La Vie is released on November 17 on BMG Music. The band will be at Newcastle Utilita Arena on December 2. Visit for tickets.