The Coventry Automatics (aka The Specials) – Dawning of a New Era (WMM Records)

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The Specials are a Two-Tone institution. They were at the forefront of the early eighties Ska boom, and despite a lengthy two decade hiatus, have retained a place in the hearts and minds of their legions of fans, both new and old, the world over. Their upbeat, urgent and energetic sound helped to define and push the Two-Tone movement into the mainstream consciousness and they remain, to this day, a force to be reckoned with. But what were the Specials, or as they were originally known, The Coventry Automatics up to before the whole Two-Tone thing blew up and took everyone by storm? Well, as it turns out pretty much the same thing as they were after the world went ska shaped. Dawning of a New Era collects the original demo’s that the band recorded in 1978 and while it isn’t quite as furious and frenzied as the band would later become and is far closer to a traditional Dancehall sound, everything that the Specials would go on to become is here, captured in the grooves and insanely catchy, and danceable, songs that make up this record. It’s the Specials, just not as we know them. Grab your pork pie hat and get your dancing shoes on, it’s moon-stomping time…  Tim Cundle

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