Picks and Pans Review: The Specials
New Wave elder Elvis Costello produced this debut album, and his influence is detected in both the song titles and style. All seven members of the group are from Coventry, England, but the reggae influence is much stronger than in the works of Costello or even the Police. The percussion builds up a rhythmic grid that is ornamented, rather than filled in, by guitars, vocals and organ. The melodies are tuneful, if repetitious, and the lyrics are amusing. Several are paeans to independence. The refrain of Too Much Too Young goes "Married with a kid when you could be having fun," and another cut is titled Stupid Marriage. There's also an anti-racist tune, Doesn't Make It Alright. Predictable material? Yes. But the LP has a special energy and wit.