WHAT HAPPENS WHEN a Nutty Boy grows up? In the case of Madness's co-frontman Chas Smash – or Cathal Smyth to give him his proper name – he makes a very personal and fascinating solo album.
“We’re all the same... No one’s really that unique.”
Released on May 4, A Comfortable Man is a bruised and confessional outpouring inspired by Smyth’s difficult life experiences in the last ten years, which began with the end of his marriage in 2005 and a subsequent spell in the Cottonwood rehab centre in Tuscon, and moved into a new phase last year when he underwent a spiritual epiphany at the hands of a shaman in his new home of Ibiza.
“We’re all the same,” he recently told MOJO of his impulse to get so personal on record. “What I learnt in recovery is you tell your life story and it’s, ‘Really?! It’s what everybody does? I’ve been wracking my soul for years about that!’ No one’s really that unique.”
Having been behind some of Madness’ biggest hits, including Michael Caine and Our House, Smyth is no mean songwriter, something A Comfortable Man ably confirms.
MOJO has an exclusive preview of You’re Not Alone, the album's opening track, which you can hear now. While DNA of Madness’s innate tunefulness can be subtly detected, this reflective song gently swells with strings arranged by Royal Academy Of Music-trained, Festival Number 6 composer-in-residence Joe Duddell, to reveal a more introspective and thoughtful side to Smyth’s songwriting.
Watch the video now.
For more information visit www.cathalsmyth.co.uk.