I won’t link to the posts, you can find them if you want, of the last two times I have seen The English Beat here in the Madison area but I have not missed a chance to see them. My history with The English Beat started when I rented a room going to school in Milwaukee while attending UWM.
I heard some random tracks and then got an early album and loved it. I thought I did that is. When I got the album “Special Beat Service” I was introduced to a whole level of “loving it”. It changed my life.
I have seen them 3 times and each time I am shocked (consider it has been 36 years since the album that changed me) that Dave still sounds fantastic and the music is great and it seems like it was only yesterday when I first heard their music and learned to love the sound.
It was over 2 years ago, when I saw them live at The High Noon Saloon and they mentioned that they were working on a new album and that you could secure a signed copy by pledging on Pledge Music. Which of course, I immediately did after the show.
That started a long long long and still more long wait for the new album to be released. As pledgers we got frequent updates… “we are mixing down”… “we are wrapping up back ground vocals”… at one point they even released all the tracks as instrumentals.
I like to be surprised. I’m not one of those that eagerly devours leaked tracks or pre-release singles. I wait for the full package.
At one point the CD was released and you could listen to it on Spotify, but, the vinyl, which I had purchased had yet to be released. There was a Pledge Music update about the vinyl, that it was being shipped to where they were playing in Texas or somewhere so that Dave could sign them all and then they would be shipped.
Still more waiting.
Finally, literally 2 years after I pledged… it arrived!
Signed by Dave himself.
The packaging was very cool.
Love the Ska girl image. Iconic.
The inner gatefold had lyrics.
with custom labels in white and black sleeves.
So, the question is… was it worth the wait. Answer… yes!
This album in my opinion is great. Dave’s voice is as strong as ever, and the music is top notch. The track “Dem Call It Ska” is the weakest track on the album, but I have a well known penchant for hating on songs with “rock and roll” in the title. This isn’t that far off of that. I’m not saying I don’t listen to it, I’m just saying it doesn’t stand up with the others.
The stand out tracks are “How Can You Stand There”, “If Killing Worked”, “Here We Go Love” and “The Love You Give”. They have the bright positive poppy sound that I have come to associate with the best of The English Beat.
It took a while for me to have time to devote to listening to this with a critical ear. I was a little afraid that after a huge wait as I was subjected to that almost nothing could stand up to the hype. I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait. It will never replace “Special Beat Service” but in all honesty, what could? The music is solid and makes me happy like it did back in the day when I was playing it in my rented room in the room over the garage, loving life and thinking I had the world by the horns.
Thanks for still touring with The English Beat Dave and for continuing to record.
Your band has been my Sole Salvation.