The Specials + Little Hurricane

Music , Pop
Critics' pick
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Photograph: Marielle Solan
The Specials at SXSW Music Festival 2013

English ska-revival icons the Specials borrowed their sound and style from the British-Jamaican ska movement of the ’60s, but in accord with the punk and new wave of its day, the group pulled the horns back and pushed the guitar up, with vocalist Terry Hall’s monotone stridency lending a weight the proto-reggae grooves had lacked. The Specials barely made it into the ’80s before splintering; the current version, which regrouped in 2008, boasts Hall, founders Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, and plenty of vintage spirit.

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