Wednesday, February 13, 2013

English Beat, "Twist & Crawl" (1980)


From the (English) Beat's amazing debut, I Just Can't Stop It, which is essential. This song was never a hit or even a single as far as I know but it got to be my favorite, probably because it was about the point where I could feel my neck starting to snap off from the rapid-fire assault of tempo on that first vinyl side, and I was impelled to get up and in for some living room dance time. It followed "Mirror in the Bathroom," which kicked the side off splendidly, and two more good ones, culminating ultimately with "Click Click," at 1:28. "Twist & Crawl" at 2:34 is more of your everyday type of impossibly fast quick-stepper. Once started, if you try to keep time to it nodding your head, you will see what I am talking about. Oh, sweet youth. The band at this moment at the top of their powers, something to behold, even just hearing them on the album. The simple unassuming way it enters in, built from drum patterns, then bass and rhythm guitar, insinuating itself even as it subtly boosts the tempo, playing it faster and faster, but not so you notice much until the painful neck snapping interrupts your reverie. Time to get on your feet now. Alas, from here the English Beat just went to fracturing, though not without its pleasures along the way. Over the long decades it has evolved into one unit called the Beat (UK), headed up by Ranking Roger, and another called the English Beat (US), fronted by Dave Wakeling. A friend reports in from a recent English Beat (US) show in Annapolis that Dave Wakeling was embarrassingly drunk, but Antonee First Class kept it together and made it work—good show, overall.

1 comment:

  1. I need to pull this out again. I like that you're still singing its praises. Putting aside '80s nostalgists, I see this as being the epitome of the kind of '80s thing that some would rather denounce now. Dorky '80s dance music! For chrissakes, they wore suspenders and white socks! I loved this record, though.