A minor classic of late-'70s power pop, The Beat proves that Paul Collins learned his lessons well from his tenure with pioneering L.A. popmeisters the Nerves. If Collins' songs on this set aren't quite as good as what fellow Nerve Peter Case brought to their old band (and would bring to the Plimsouls), he works the classic themes of girls and guitars with winning enthusiasm, and as a band the Beat were leaner, harder, tighter, and lighter on their feet than the Nerves ever were. Compared to the Knack, then the rulers of California's pop scene, the Beat were a lot more fun to listen to and seemed to actually like women, compared to arch misogynist Doug Fieger. The Beat's 13 cuts are full of hooky snaps, especially "Rock N Roll Girl," "Walking Out on Love," and the shoulda-been-a-hit "Don't Wait Up for Me Tonight," and Collins' and Larry Whitman's guitars sing out with passionate energy. The Beat won't change your life, but it will make 35 minutes of it a lot more fun. -AMG
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