The Selecter will always be remembered for its part in the UK ska/reggae/punk explosion across the late 1970s/early 1980s, its debut remains a classic. And there is much to praise about this band – now multi-generational (in band make-up and audience) as well as multicultural and featuring a strong female front-person – well, duel/dual singer/songwriters in Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson, but new album, Daylight is almost as good as the band has ever sounded. There’s been a commitment to new music as the group continues to tour but Daylight has the upper-edge, smart pop tunes, strong performances.
Black’s voice is weaker – to be expected – but her performance is still strong, committed, topical lyrics, palpable passion.
Jools Holland sits in on the upbeat title track – his tinkled ivories don’t get in the way and help to sell the feelgood magic but for the most part it’s the band that shines. Henderson and Black taking turns out front, and a supple rhythm section.
Where it’s consistent for the most part, and that’s arguably good enough, there are also some real highlights. Paved With Cold could have been released in the early 1980s, would have sat – lyrically and musically – with the band’s best music of that era. And there are some lovely sunny-day feels on the musically upbeat (lyrically conscious) Things Fall Apart and Mayhem.
Just the right amount of pressure, then?
File Under: Happy Surprise.