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Recalling a sunny concoction of
ska, punk, reggae and soul

The English Beat - Keep The Beat:
The Very Best Of The English Beat

(Shout! Factory)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 2, 2012
The English Beat

Review by Andy Argyrakis

As part of an extensive reissue campaign, The English Beat score a digitally remastered career retrospective, and while there have been other options in the past, this 16-track collection truly hits the spot. Aside from the improved sound quality, "Keep The Beat" highlights all the key hits, while also cherry picking overlooked album tracks, all of which point to the band's innovative blend of ska, punk, soul and reggae within the new wave era.

"Mirror In The Bathroom" is a natural launching pad, not only because it was the band's biggest hit, but also since it sonically summarizes all the band's lofty fusion ambitions. Other instantly familiar moments of horn-infused infectiousness include "Save It For Later" and "I Confess," along with the group's jovial, ska-flanked take on Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Tears Of A Clown."

Other highlights include the alternative reggae strutter "Twist & Crawl" and the blue-eyed soul burst "Too Nice To Talk To," which recalls fellow era scenesters The Style Council. While the chilled out groove "End Of The Party" closes out the disc, it by no means signals the end of The English Beat, who continue to tour America led by Dave Wakeling (with fellow co-founder Ranking Roger leading The Beat in Britain). In spite of the splintered factions, "Keep The Beat" is the ideal single disc time capsule to the group's original, groundbreaking era, though dedicated fans may want to dig even deeper with the simultaneous box set release "The Complete Beat," which complies three studio albums and loads of rarities across five discs.

Related articles:

Dave Wakeling - The English Beat - Exclusive interview March 2010
The English Beat / Fishbone - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI March 2010

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