The Beat feat. Ranking Roger
★★★ Public Confidential DMF. CD/LP
Veteran Brum-ska faction keep on jumping.
Three versions of The Beat are currently active – exdrummer Everett Morton’s Beat Goes Bang, founding co-frontman Dave Wakeling’s California group, and the long-lasting formation led by MC and vibesman Ranking Roger. Public Confidential sets out a convincing claim to custody of the sound first laid down on 1980’s I Just Can’t Stop It, lovingly recapturing familiar rhythmic accents, tense basslines and the lilting saxophone of late group elder Saxa on the Best Friend-like, nostalgic-for-2 Tone A Good Day For Sunshine, and government surveillance warning Maniac, which recalls the cold sweat paranoia of Mirror In The Bathroom. XL-Fred Perry shirt rude boys are well served by these songs, and others – see mocking anti-violence dub Dangerous, which draws on 1981’s Wha’ppen? – though the suspicion remains that, with the best songs off Wakeling’s melody-attuned Here We Go Love from last May, this might have been the best Beat album for 36 years.