Review: Standard (4 records)

Standards is your standard issue pre-Christmas “best of” compilation from The Alarm, a band that is far from standard issue. Here, all your favorites are lifted to the audio excellence of digital sound -“The Stand”, “Strength”, “Spirit Of ’76”, “Rescue Me”, “Marching On”, “Blaze Of Glory” – and the sound is great. This ia an excellent collection to own, especially if, like me, you have all of The Alarm’s earliest efforts – The Alarm the 5-song EP, Strength and Eye Of The Hurricane – only on vinyl. Sure its not like having all the Alarm records on disc, but hey its an imperfect world. Three of the 15 tracks are newly recorded. “The Road” is a standard issue Alarm anthem about overcoming obstacles in our lives, with the affirmation from Mike Peters that “I’ll be ther when it all comes down”. “Unsafe Biulding” offers this spiritual invitation “come out of the cupboard and into the real world/Open the window and let the some light into your life/ It’s dark in the tunnel but keep coming through/Straight down the line ans sure you’ll se the lights that shine, before suggesting “Declare yourself and unsafe building-Rebuild your life rebuild your home/Rethink your values, rethink yourself right through.” Neither tune offers much new to the Alarm’s musical legacy, but what is a fan to do? Also included is a fine cover of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono seasonal benediction “Happy Christmas(War Is Over).” Here the sentiment is more important then the actual song, especially with 400,000 Americans sitting in the Persian Gulf and talk of war in the White House; this message couln’t be more timely. Andfor that matter, with gift giving season handy what better time to give the gift of music that invites then to “Comeon down and meet your maker/Come on down and make the stand.”

Publication::Publication:Harvest Roc
Author::Brian Q. Newcomb