Earlier this year we saw the return of the Mad Caddies, as they put out the new EP House on Fire. The album is the first new music since 2018, when they released Punk Rocksteady and the single “I’m Going Surfing for Xmas.”
While originally part of the mid-nineties Third wave explosion, The Caddies distinguished themselves through the wide diversity of influences they draw upon, from Reggae and Punk to Pop, Polka and Dixieland Jazz, they have never shied away from playing with their sound.
House on Fire finds them continuing this tradition, this time delving a little deeper into their Pop side. “Let it Go” opens the album with some mellow Reggae, a sunny rhythm belies melancholy lyrics and some nearly hidden vocal harmonies. The second song “Waiting for the Real Thing” gives us a little doo-wop, a pretty little melody that even gets the layered vocals over finger snapping treatment.
The highlights of this album are the back to back songs of “Strange Days” and “Dogs of War.” The first song which really allows the horn section to shine. While not as bombastic as previous offerings, they are still very bright and serve as a pleasant jazzy accent. Then “Dogs of War” hits, carrying a bit more energy that helps separate it from the melodrama of the rest of the album. Again with some bright brass accents, that do a wonderful job of supporting the sound without dominating the spotlight.
“Wake My Baby” rounds out the EP with an upbeat guitar driven toe-tapper, more akin to Folk Rock than Ska Punk, which perfectly encapsulates the candy-coated melancholy put on display throughout this EP. The energy and Pop sensibilities make it easy to overlook the desperation in the lyrics, from the internal struggles of heartbreak to bleak outlooks on our country as a whole, House on Fire feels like a sunny and warm, sad country song.