Ska is this season's minor imported music phenomenon (in Britain, the major one is the return of heavy metal). It is basically a reggae rhythm spruced up with a bigger, heavier beat and played by racially mixed bands. The Selecter is the third major British ska group to tour America (after the Specials and Madness) and for them, rhythm is all. Unlike a mystery, you can walk in late and miss the plot, leave early and miss the denouement and not even attempt to decipher the words. But can you dance to it? (This is, after all, rock's only eternal question.) Yes, you can dance the night away.
Selecter is graced by vocalist Pauline Black, who at least convinces one that all ska bands aren't drawn from the same music and dance school. Choreography for a ska band consists of jumping up, down and about, like someone with his shoes tied together trying to get out of a too-tight suit on a trampoline.
Wardrobe may be the group's downfall, though. Ska encourages a salut Partiste mentality in which homage becomes imitation. Dancewise, it's no problem, and fans can find plenty of white shirt/narrow black tie variations. But there are precious few pork-pie hats to be had these days. Since fashion competes with rhythm in the group's acceptability, expect Selecter to disappear with autumn's leaves.