Encore

The Specials

Island, 2019

http://www.thespecials.com

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/11/2019

The Specials are back! And they are joined by Terry Hall, who hasn’t been on a record since their ‘80s heyday, as well as Lynval Golding and longtime bassist Horace Panter and a load of new associates. Being the first real Specials album since 1998, this record has a lot of history to it. From the get go on “Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys,” hearing Hall’s still amazing voice is a great relief. The song isn’t really horn-driven, which is a disappointment, but it’s still decent enough. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Vote For Me” has the spirit of The Specials of old, with a seeming throwback to “Ghost Town” thrown in just for fun. This is a great song and one that lives up to the spirit of the classics. “Lunatics” is a slow burner ska track that fits in perfect with today’s political system. Same goes for “Blam Blam Fever,” a cover of an old Valentines track about gun fever that is more than relevant in this screwed up world we currently live in. It’s really topical and catchy to boot. The band basically took a look at the world around them and recorded some really relevant material that speaks to what’s going on and what The Specials has always been known for.

“Embarrassed by You” could almost be a new U.S. theme song talking about this white supremacy bullshit. It’s great track and poppy at the same time. It’s nice to see that you can never tell when a band’s time is up when they come back after a long break and are able to create material like this. So much for the oldies circuit.

With all these ska bands that are still around, hanging on for some semblance of their past glories, one can look at The Specials and see how it can really be done. It’s a marvel what they’ve been able to do with this record.

Rating: B

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