Coventry’s own Selecter, originally formed in 1979, are back with a new 12-track album, produced by Neil Pyzer and mixed by Prince Fatty. Still fronted by lead singer Pauline Black and fellow original member Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson, it’s good to hear this new music from one of reggae’s great bands. The album is divisible into fast ska-based rhythms and more leisurely reggae songs, sequenced to provide a balance between the two. Proceedings open with ‘Box Fresh’, an upbeat ska song, setting the pattern for other tracks in a similar vein including ‘Open Goal’. ‘It Never Worked Out’ is a more leisurely and more interesting reggae affair, in common with the Eastern-flavoured ‘Breakdown’. Similarly ‘Karma’ is a retro-styled reggae song. ‘See Them a Come’ could have appeared at British reggae’s peak, as could ‘Walk the Walk’ with its Rudy-message-to-you horns. Into this proficient set of songs there suddenly appears ‘Because the Night’, the Springsteen/Patti Smith classic that receives a highly convincing treatment here, surely destined to be a live crowd-pleaser. The album closes with ‘Still I Rise’ – thoughtful reggae music at its best, instrumentally and lyrically strong, giving way to a slow and lengthy final section: a song that could well have provided an effective alternative title for this collection as a whole.
The Selecter ‘Subculture’: released by DMF Records (CD, vinyl, DDL) 15th June 2015