Friday, 21 October 2016

The Beat & Ranking Roger - Bounce (2016)

The Beat & Ranking Roger

The Beat featuring Ranking Roger Bounce (CD, DMF Records, 2016):
While it's completely understandable why one would want to continue using The Beat name and brand decades after the band broke up (after all, the original Beat was one of the best acts of the 2 Tone/post-punk/New Wave era; Just Can't Stop It, Wha'ppen and Special Beat Service are phenomenal albums; and Dave Wakeling tours the US almost non-stop as The English Beat), it's also an incredibly risky proposition, as the bar is set very, very high. As a Beat album, Bounce doesn't meet expectations (really, how could it?), but if it is considered on its own merits as a new Ranking Roger record, it's a good - sometimes really great - album of pop reggae and ska that is akin to UB40 and Beat-descendant General Public (oddly, one track, "Close the Door," is pretty much a re-write of General Public's "General Public"). Ranking Roger's voice is in fantastic shape, the musicians and production are top-notch, and everything comes together nicely on "Avoid the Obvious," "Walking on the Wrong Side" (which decries governmental surveillance of all its citizenry), "On My Way," "My Dream" (nice Madness-y ska music hall here), "Fire Burn" (both a call for everyone to act on injustice and to close down Guantanamo Bay), and "Heaven Hiding."

01. Walking On The Wrong Side (3:06)
02. Busy Busy Doing Nothing (2:24)
03. Heaven Hiding (3:12)
04. Avoid The Obvious (3:02)
05. Fire Burn (3:45)
06. On My Way (3:02)
07. Work Work Work (2:51)
08. Talkin’ About Her (3:43)
09. Side To Side (3:43)
10. My Dream (4:21)
11. Close The Door (4:34)

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