Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
The Alarm is the second artist from Wales to appear in this series, following John Cale as a member of The Velvet Underground. The four Welsh musicians who made up The Alarm created a powerful & unique sound that was an integral part of the ’80s for me, and I still love it all these years later. I love everything the original quartet released, and even the later lineups that only included lead vocalist Mike Peters continued to make excellent music, but I return most often to their first EP and full-length album. The former was highlighted in the fifth Great Out Of The Gate post and you can read my comments below.
For more information on this series, please read the opening paragraph of the first post, which featured the debut album from Led Zeppelin.
From GREAT OUT OF THE GATE Part 5:
This 5-song EP was part of a triumvirate of releases in 1983 that introduced me to a new generation of great bands, the others being Big Country’s The Crossing and U2’s War. In an era when robotic rhythms & icy synths were the prevailing sounds, these guitar-based bands were a breath of fresh air. The Alarm was probably the most consistently rousing of these groups with anthemic, Clash-inspired songs that cried out for audience sing-alongs. Lead single “The Stand” has an almost military vibe with its call-to-action chorus (“Come on down & meet your maker, come on down & make the stand”), and the other three studio tracks (“Across The Border,” “Marching On” and “Lie Of The Land”) have a similar urgency & immediacy. Mike Peters shares lead vocals with guitarist Dave Sharp (Peters would eventually become The Alarm’s full-time singer when their record label insisted on one frontman), and the rhythm section of bassist Eddie MacDonald & drummer (Nigel) Twist give the songs just the punch they need. The EP closes out with the live track, “For Freedom,” offering a glimpse at one of the most captivating concert attractions of their era. Had I disqualified EP’s from contention in this series, their 1984 full-length debut Declaration would surely have been included. The Alarm continued for nearly a decade before splitting up, and Peters has recorded & toured as The Alarm with a new lineup for the past decade, while also replacing the late Stuart Adamson as lead vocalist in Big Country for a few years.
Who else loved (and still loves) these guys? Were you also listening to the other bands I mentioned? If their commercial peak was before or after your time and this is your first exposure to them, please let me know your thoughts on the songs embedded above.
Satur-debut will continue in 2020. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys whichever holiday(s) you celebrate, and Happy New Year to my readers, fellow bloggers and all your loved ones.