Thursday, July 14, 2005

rankin' come forward!

The Beat - Too nice to talk to 

The Beat are my favourite Two-tone/Ska band. The Specials were ace, their music throbs with controlled aggression but is there something a little misogynistic going on? Little Bitch, Niteklub and Too Much Too Young all express real bitterness about women.

Madness had great singles which went far beyond the Ska template but there is something a bit 'blokey' about them. The Beat had the urgency of punk and the itchiness of Ska but their sound was a little more deft and elegant. They were the Ska band in touch with their feminine side...they even had a dancing girl as their logo.

Like a lot of the 1979 Ska bands they came from the Midlands, Birmingham in their case and like Madness and The Specials they pushed their music outside the skankin' box. I hear 60's beat, calypso, soul and pure New wave pop when I listen to them. In Dave Wakeling they had a great singer and in Rankin' Roger an energetic force of nature, toasting and MC'ing. Remember this was at a time when Reggae dancehall culture was alien to most people. It's no wonder the Ska-kids were usually the coolest in school.

The Beat- Twist and Crawl

'Too nice to talk to' surges with energy and brilliant guitar hooks, 'Twist and Crawl' shows what a fantastic rhythm section they had. This is music to dance to but the lyrics are full of urban observation.

The Beat tend to be the forgotten band of the '79 Ska explosion, it's time they were re-discovered.

The Beat!
Buy The Beat- The Best of The Beat

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