Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Selecter: Too Much Pressure [Chrysalis, 1980]
Except for songwriter-guitarist Neol Davies, these two-toners are black, reassuring in a movement that calls up fears of folkie patronization. Lead singer's a woman, too, a refreshing piece of progress no matter how self-consciously progressive its motives. Taking a folkie risk like their confreres the Specials, they honor their undercapitalized roots by emulating the two-track sound of the cult hits they love. Fortunately, Davies has an amazing ability to recapture the ska spirit without pretending it's 1965--impossible to tell whether "Time Hard" or "Too Much Pressure" is the new one without external clues--and it saves them, just barely. Play loud. A-