THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) — I Just Can't Stop It (review)

THE BEAT (THE ENGLISH BEAT) — I Just Can't Stop It album cover Album · 1980 · Dub/Ska/Reggae Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
js
The Beat, or The English Beat, as they were known in the states, were a musical super nova that burned bright for about four years and then abruptly broke up while they were still successful. Sporting a mix of Caribbean rhythms and punk rock energy, they were a natural to ride the ska revival of the early 80s, but The Beat were always way more than ska imitator wannabes. With at least three band members with bona fide reggae/ska musical roots, The Beat had an authenticity and natural nimble grace to their music that was not matched by their counterparts in the two tone movement. All of this was on full display when they released their opening opus, "I Just Can't Stop It", one of the best dance-able art pop albums in the 80s or in any decade.

In a manner similar to other rhythmically kinetic groups such as The Meters or the JBs, everything great about The Beat starts at the drum set and works its way forward from there. Everett Morton is one of the most overlooked innovative drummers in contemporary music. His ability to play syncopated Caribbean rhythms at break neck tempos made The Beat an irresistible sonic force. Add to that beat foundation a driving dub style bass, two interlocking guitars and Saxa's melodic Jamaican horn lines and you have a rich sonic tapestry. The icing on the cake was the duo vocals of Englishman Dave Wakeling and the Jamaican toasting and harmonies from Ranking Roger which gave The Beat a broad pallet of vocal deliveries.

The icing on the icing is the fact that these guys could write great songs and lyrics that were often either politically clever or sardonically dismayed with relationships. On "I Just Can' Stop It", they also include some creative covers that blend well with their originals. THere are no bad cuts on here, but if you are looking for the high energy barn-burners, try "Click Click", "Noise in this World" or "Two Swords".

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