The English Beat snuck in under the banner of the 2-Tone ska revival, and on albums like their 1980 debut, I Just Can’t Stop It, they showed off a rhythmic attack as buoyant as any north of the Caribbean. But the band’s secret weapon was pop, the ear-candy tunes and sharp-fanged lyrics of frontman Dave Wakeling – at his finest, a singer-songwriter as savagely witty as Elvis Costello. This five-CD box set features the band’s three great studio albums, plus terrific bonus tracks and dub versions, and a slew of live recordings in which the Beat unleash their dance-floor fury and their Thatcher-era protest politics.
Listen to ‘Keep the Beat: The Very Best of The English Beat’:
• Photos: Random Notes