Dan Woodgate probably knew at least 30 years ago that his role as the drummer with Madness was likely to be his most high- profile entry into music’s Who’s-Who. That group’s now part of the collective British heritage, but like other members (saxman Lee Thompson in particular), Woody has shown admirable reluctance in recent years to rest on those laurels.
Following The Magic Line, his warmly received 2013 album with sibling Nick as the Magic Brothers, he now offers this highly likeable set in his own name. While certain chord progressions are reminiscent of earlier Madness (as are certain titles (We’re All Going To Brighton; Friday Night To Sunday Morning) there’s more, swirly experimentation here, often with echoes of Revolver and Syd-period Floyd. Shaman is especially dreamy, but the album’s not trying to be anything more or less than a collection of well-constructed and thoroughly amiable pop songs. Each one is layered with attractive harmonies and melodies that are in your brain on two plays, and the closing Thank You has distinct possibilities as an anthemic set-closer. If the programming powers- that-be let you hear it, you’d be humming it double-quick.