KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Satur-debut – THE ALARM “THE ALARM (EP)”

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.

16 comments on “Satur-debut – THE ALARM “THE ALARM (EP)”

  1. 2loud2oldmusic
    December 22, 2019

    Love these guys. I found them on Declaration, but went back and picked this one up. The album Strength is my favorite of the band, but can’t go wrong with any really. Heck, even Mike’s newer stuff is pretty darn great. Great post!

    Like

    • Thanks. All of the albums by the original lineup are great. I think Declaration is my favorite but Strength is pretty close. I agree that his newer stuff is also excellent. He also did a great job fronting Big Country for a couple of years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 2loud2oldmusic
        December 25, 2019

        I didn’t know he sang for Big Country for awhile. Learn something new everyday.

        Like

      • They even released a studio album with him. Not a classic but very good.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 2loud2oldmusic
        December 25, 2019

        Ok, going to look for that and add it my apple library. Thanks

        Liked by 1 person

      • Phillip Helbig
        December 30, 2019

        “He also did a great job fronting Big Country for a couple of years.”

        I saw this version live, in a relatively small club. On bass was a chap wearing a kilt who had played for the Simple Minds in the early days.

        Like

      • When I saw Big Country fronted by Mike Peters, original bassist Tony Butler was still with the band, so it was 3/4 of the original lineup. I’ve seen footage of them with Forbes on bass and they were very good, but it came across as more of a tribute band than the real thing. They’re still out there playing a lot of gigs with a singer who sounds a lot more like Stuart Adamson than Mike Peters did. I’m sure if I lived in the UK or Europe I would still be seeing them periodically. Instead I check out clips on YouTube. Such is the life of a music fan these days. Happy New Year, Phillip. Hope it’s a great (and healthy) year for you.

        Like

      • Phillip Helbig
        January 2, 2020

        Thanks, and a happy one to you and yours as well! Mine is starting off grand.

        Like

      • Happy to hear it’s been “grand” so far. I hope 2020 continues that way.

        Like

  2. J.
    December 23, 2019

    All the best to you and yours over the Festive Season, Rich. Hope 2020 is a great one.

    Like

  3. Alyson
    December 23, 2019

    Hi Rich – Sorry I’ve been absent of late from the comments boxes but not been familiar with the artists you’ve been writing about (bar Marillion of course).

    I totally understand how you must like these guys though – Not Scottish this time like Big Country but Welsh (another Celtic nation) and yet again powerful anthemic music. Being more a fan of chart music I think I only really know the song 68 Guns well, and felt sure there was a story behind it – Just checked it out and discovered it was inspired by a book written about the 1960s street gangs of Glasgow. Makes sense. Off tangent now but I did have to study such gang culture for a sociology course I took as a student and it made for fascinating reading. In later life I met someone who had been a member of such a gang (but now worked on the other side of the fence) – One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met (a Billy Connolly type) but back in the day was involved with so much violence.

    Festive greetings from Scotland to you and your wife.

    Like

    • No need to apologize, Alyson. Great to hear from you. Thanks so much for the backstory on “68 Guns.” I had no idea. I like the sound of the “Billy Connolly type” fella. I saw Mr. Connolly in NYC years ago and he was, unsurprisingly, fookin’ brilliant. Merry Christmas to your clan. Wishing you lots of well-earned peace & happiness. And thanks for your kind seasonal wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alyson
    December 23, 2019

    Forgot to mention their hair – Some of the best spikey mullets of the era!

    Like

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