DVD review: The English Beat 'The Complete Beat'

DVD review: The English Beat ‘The Complete Beat'
BY GENE TRIPLETT Entertainment Editor email@opubco.com Published: July 6, 2012


The English Beat “The Complete Beat” (Shout)

Summer's here and the time is right to go Caribbean crazy with a whole big box of The English Beat.

“The Complete Beat” contains remastered versions of all three of the British ska revivalist band's albums: “I Just Can't Stop It” (1980), “Wha'ppen?” (1981) and “Special Beat Service” (1982), plus two discs of bonus material including three sessions recorded for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1, tracks from a live show recorded at Boston's Opera House, and dub versions of some of the band's hit singles. There's also a booklet of rare photos and an essay by music scholar Alex Ogg.

Working up a sweat can be tons of fun when dancing to the double-time beats of heavily caffeinated covers of Smokey Robinson's “Tears of a Clown” or the band's own sax-honking, runaway train of a rant against narcissism, “Mirror in the Bathroom.” They could get heated up politically, too, trashing Thatcherism with the acid-spitting “Stand Down Margaret.”

“Wha'ppen” was a little less frenetic — and a little less engaging — as the band branched out into a wider assortment of world music styles, calypso and Mediterranean rhythms and reggae.

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