Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The English Beat: I Just Can't Stop It [Sire, 1980]
Known simply as the Beat in England, and rightly so--their ska is deep and driven. Thank drummer Everett Martin, born St. Kitt's 1951, with roots from reggae to Armatrading, and bassist David Steele, born Isle of Wight 1960, who's parlayed the usual classical training into a rhythm kid's twist and crawl. That's a title, of course, naming a bass line that moved more feet than anything Bernard Edwards came up with in 1980. Riding atop the full frontal velocity are two lean, warm, modest voices, almost indistinguishable until Ranking Roger turns up the accent. Hidden below it are songs, most of them by covocalist David Wakeling. Lyric of the electoral year: "Stand Down Margaret." A-