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The English Beat
BEAT THIS! THE BEST OF THE ENGLISH BEAT
(GO FEET/LONDON)

Before fracturing into Fine Young Cannibals and General Public, the Beat were one of the premier exponents of the early 1980s neo-ska/reggae movement in England. Their moniker prefaced by "English" in the US to avoid confusion with California power popsters of the same name, the Birmingham sextet injected politics into their jubilant fusion of skanking ska beats, lazy reggae shuffle, and brooding saxophone lines. Although the fast-and-furious tongue twister "Twist and Crawl" and ominous "Mirror in the Bathroom" best represent this genre marriage, other tracks on Beat This! reflect a healthy cross-section of diverse musical flourishes. Looping, melodic bass and ferocious sheets of guitar ("Click Click"), breezy harmonies ("Doors of Your Heart"), jazz-club piano ("I Confess"), and even chiming riffs and handclaps worthy of pure pop ("Best Friend") pepper the selections.

The only caveat here is that there are no surprises: Beat This! shares the vast majority of its songs with past greatest-hits releases from the band, 1983ís What Is Beat? and 1996ís B.P.M.: The Very Best of the Beat. The collection is an ultra-catchy introduction to a band who still sound fresh today, but owners of previous Beat best-ofs may want to pass.

BY ANNIE ZALESKI

Issue Date: December 27, 2001 - January 3, 2002

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