Consumer Guide Album
The English Beat: Wha'ppen? [Sire, 1981]
David Wakeling shows more character (and timbre) than Terry Hall, Ranking Roger could rub his dub in a pedigreed reggae band, and the rhythms aren't solely riddims. So as two-tone grays out, the Beat follow their chops into the world-beat sweepstakes, where snaky grooves are worth their weight in yen. The Afrobeats and studio spaces and steel drums are as seamlessly colloquial as the depression politics and depressed romances, so it would be a shame if its sinuous midtempos dismay fans of its predecessor's hectic pace. I hear not resignation or compromise but a stubborn, animated adaptability. Unity rocker: "Doors of Your Heart," in which love means eros and agape simultaneously, and Wakeling finds that dread blocks the way to both, and Roger advises him to stop his fighting.