The Specials, Brixton Academy, review: more relevant – and special – than ever

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Terry Hall of The Specials
Terry Hall of The Specials Credit: REX/Shutterstock 

The Specials – men in their Sixties who last topped the pop charts almost four decades ago, and who still refuse to smile for the camera – surprised everyone a few weeks ago when their long-awaited comeback album hit Number One.

While an ever-changing line-up fronted by their original lead singer, Terry Hall, has toured worldwide amid extraordinary fervour these past 10 years, it was no foregone conclusion that their fanbase would welcome new music from them.

Their aural bequest was so small and perfectly formed (just two landmark albums: 1979’s The Specials, with its frantic reactivation of ska and rocksteady rhythms from Sixties Jamaica, and the following year’s more disparate More Specials),...

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