Paul Collins, once a third of SF-to-LA’s fabled Nerves (the other two were Peter Case, later of the Plimsouls, and tunesmith-to-the-stars Jack Lee), writes songs calling to mind the early Hollies (except grittier and American) and a more down-to-earth, less poetic Byrds. Though never scaling the heights of either band, The Beat (issued prior to the name conflict with the English Beat) is simple, satisfying power pop, all meat and no filler. If anything, though, it’s a little too no-frills, with unimaginative production; the lack of idiosyncrasy and variation gives it a monotonous feel.
This problem was remedied somewhat on the Beat’s second album, which is quite a bit heavier. Although they seem to run out of steam — and songs — halfway through The Kids Are the Same, the band shows a high degree of musical volatility up to that point.
Collins refurbished the Beat’s lineup for the 1983 EP. The new combo includes ex-Patti Smith Group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty and guitarist Jimmy Ripp, both of whom have played on Tom Verlaine LPs. The band smokes and the songs are stylistically varied, but this glorified demo surprisingly failed to get Collins a new major-label deal.
Collins surprisingly restarted the group in the mid-’90s.