Picks and Pans Review: Wha'ppen?
Growth has taken an interesting direction for this superb band of three white and three black musicians from England's racially integrated, reggae-oriented "Two-Tone" movement. Last year's debut, I Just Can't Stop It, brimmed with spangling guitars, odd steely accents and dervishlike energy. At the same time, cuts like the anti-Thatcher Stand Down Margaret showed the Beat wasn't just entertaining its young audience. Wha'ppen? moves the band deeper into the furies of urban English youth. The lyrics are hardly moon/ June/ spoon. From The Limits We Set. "The only limits we set/ What can we get away with?/ In that at least we're the same?/ The only way we find of/ Hiding the hurt we feel/ Is make more unnecessary pain." Behind the lyrics is a mellow, lilting sound, colored more than ever by the breezy lines of Saxa, its 50ish Jamaica-born tenor sax man. The contrast between music and words couldn't be more striking, or affecting.