STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 5840-5716 LABEL: 21st Century 21C018 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 7
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
There can be few bands in pop history who have acquired such a loyal following as The Alarm. I confess that I've never been one of those enraptured devotees who make their way annually to Llandudno for the Mike Peters convention but I do fondly remember the Welsh foursome's classic years when they were masters of the song as terrace anthem with their classic hits "68 Guns", "Spirit Of '76" and "Blaze Of Glory". The Alarm's complete back catalogue has not been available since the demise of the band's original label IRS in the early '90s but now all the masters have been licensed from EMI to make the most lavish box set for every Alarm devotee. Not only do you get pristine remastered versions of "The Alarm" (1981-1983), "Decoration" (1984-1985), "Strength" (1985-1986), "Eye Of The Hurricane" (1987-1988), "Electric Folklore (Live)" (1987-1988), "Change" (1989-1990) and "Raw" (1990-1991), there are also extra tracks for each of those albums plus an exclusive 18-track CD of rare tracks, B-sides and demo tapes. Completists will find much which is fascinating: a 1982 early demo of "68 Guns", the non-album singles "Absolute Reality" and "The Chant Has Just Begun" from their 'Declaration' period; and unreleased mix of the "Eye Of The Hurricane" produced by John Porter (The Smiths); and the first ever release of the last studio track The Alarm recorded together, a raw acoustic version of "Walk Forever By My Side". Not every track here of course is of top quality. But for those who have thrilled in the past to the naked, anthemic passion of one of the greatest ever stadium rock bands, this lovingly compiled and excellently presented compilation is a purchase worth considering. And it's intriguing how many of Mike Peters' lyrics make sense only when one takes account of his defiant, if dented, Christian faith.
The opinions expressed in this article are
not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed
views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may
not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a
Interested in reviewing music? Find out