‘The Alarm 2000 Collection’
(21st Century 21C018)
* * * * *
The Alarm were notorious for unwittingly attracting bad press during theirpeak time in the 80’s. Enduring frequent comparisons to U2 and The Clash, along with jibes about their admittedly ridiculously airborne hairstyles was all in a day’s suffering for the four piece from North Wales.
Yet despite the hub of unfavourable and often downright malicious press, the band secures an army of loyal fans who would arguably still be coming out in droves to see them perform to this day, largely due to their incredible live
shows, which would often extend beyond the two hour barrier.
Former singer and co-songwriter Mike Peters is not oblivious to the band’s
cult following and has shrewdly purchased the group’s entire back catalogue and released the lot via this boxed set on his own label, Twenty First Century Recordings.
At just one penny short of a hundred quid, it’s undeniably expensive but
arguably worthwhile as it contains just about every single track ever recorded by the four piece. Sadly, it’s only available via the internet (check out www.thealarm.com) or via telephone mail order through Peters’ own
mail order company, tel: (01745) 571571.
The collection is comprised of eight CD’s each with its own album sleeve
featuring a booklet of rare photographs. Each sleeve includes candid quotes from the band, which provide a rare insight for fans about the politics that existed both within the group and ther business environment, including the inner squabbles and debates that most bands suffer, but prefer to conceal. The lyrics to every song on the CD are also printed in full.
The CD’s are segmented by time frames, with CD One dating back to the early demo years of 1981 to 1983 (before the release of ‘Declaration’ , the band’s debut album) and take the listener all the way up to 1991.
The boxed set also provides some b-side gems that should have made it onto albums. Check out the fabulous ‘Second Generation’ , an early melodic number and ‘Thoughts of a Young Man’, originally featured on the flip side of the 12 inch of ’68 Guns’.
The boxed set also features ‘The Chant has Just Begun’ and ‘Absolute
Reality’, two popular singles from 1984 that should have made it onto the
‘Strength’ album, but didn’t. Also check out the spectacular 12 inch version
of ‘Rain in the Summertime’, a 1987 Top 20 hit for the band that still sounds good 13 years later.
The less spectacular moments come in the form of the ‘Raw’ era, the band’s
somewhat disjointed final album, wherein guitarist Dave Sharp tripped off down folk-guitar lane while the rest of the band still clearly wanted to
Overall though, this is an amazingly comprehensive selection of rare songs,
early demos and of course, old favourites and excellent albums, that every fan will want to have in their collection, even if the spikey mullets are