The Specials | Encore

8/10
ska-dazzle

Since their 2008 reformation, The Specials have been busy touring, but had seemed reluctant to work on a new record. The fact that the group – now a trio comprising of singer Terry Hall, guitarist/vocalist Lynval Golding and bassist Horace Panter – open with a cover version may well raise alarm bells.

Fear not though, the way they attack UK R&B group The Equals’ 1970 hit Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys instantly dispels any reservations, raising the curtain on an album very much worthy of The Specials’ well-respected name.

Having formed way back when in 1977, it’s an impressive feat that most of the core members are not just still going but still rocking. The material is true to their 2 Tone/Ska roots, yet feels as fresh and vital as it did all those years ago.

There’s social politics aplenty (Golding’s autobiographical account of schoolyard racism in B.L.M.) and musical moves from Brechtian oompah (Breaking Point) to the slinky exotica of closer We Sell Hope. More of this, Please!

Dan Ashcroft

Like this? Try these:


The Clash
London Calling
Touchstone early 80s ska-tinged punk.


Madness
Can’t Touch Us Now
More Brit-funk courtesy of Suggs & Co.


Paul Weller
Sonik Kiks
Late career highpoint from the Modfather.

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