The Alarm – Strength – 1985

After several bad experiences with mediocre to horrible opening acts at concerts my friends and I were in no hurry to get to the LA Sports Arena for U2’s War Tour performance. Fortunately for all of us, the traffic was mysteriously light on a Friday night through Los Angeles. Even stalling to purchase a tour program, T-shirts and buttons would make us late, as much as we tried. Then a loud acoustic crescendo rocked the arena and all we could make out through the curtained corridors were the words, “Come on down and meet your maker, come on down and take your stand.” We all looked at each and ran to our floor seats as quickly as we (and the security) would allow. There began my love affair with The Alarm. Mike Peters and crew have created a score of albums filled with punch, power, presence and an unparalleled passion. There is never a moment in any song where the listener doubts a single word. Filled with Biblical images, inner city turmoil, depression like conditions and hopeful anthems of faith and perseverance, Strength goes beyond platitudes and delivers stinging rebukes and hope filled sermons. I have always considered the “color” music creates. Artists paint with many shades of colors from the brightest hues and technicolor bouquets (Owl City) to dark and gloomy grays (Saviour Machine). To me, the Alarm painted in earth tones of dirt brown and industrial smog orange. These are images of the working class in urban settings filled with clotheslines draped from apartment buildings and kids playing stickball on gravel roads with broken glass. Vivid pictures of real life. But through it all a sense of hope and strength that emanates from a place deeper than the hole the subjects populate. Songs like Deeside present this contradiction most clearly. While the centerpiece of the album and highest charting single, Absolute Reality, rings with the anthemic furor that built the Alarm such a consistent and adoring fan base. Strength doesn’t contain a “hit” in the normal sense of the word, but it ends up being one of the most consistently strong records of their career. Knife Edge, the title track and the stunning closer, Walk Forever By My Side, remain as powerful and stirring as they were some 25 years ago.

Tracklist
1 – Knife Edge – 5:06
2 – Strength – 5:34
3 – Dawn Chorus – 5:24
4 – Spirit Of ’76 – 7:05
5 – Deeside – 3:08
6 – Father To Son – 4:04
7 – Only The Thunder – 4:06
8 – The Day The Ravens Left The Tower – 4:45
9 – Absolute Reality – 3:24
10 – Walk Forever By My Side – 3:32

Credits
Artwork – Lewis Evans
Bass – Eddie Macdonald
Drums – Nigel Twist
Engineer, Mixed By – Nigel Luby
Guitar – David Sharp
Keyboards – Rupert Black
Management [Alarm Management] – Ian Wilson
Mixed By – Mike Howlett
Photography By – Kevin Cummins
Producer – Mike Howlett
Vocals – Mike Peters
Written-By – Eddie Macdonald (tracks: A1, A3 to B6), Mike Peters (tracks: A1, A3 to B6)

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – International Record Syndicate, Inc.
Copyright (c) – International Record Syndicate, Inc.
Recorded At – Marcus Recording Studios
Manufactured By – MCA Records (Canada)
Distributed By – MCA Records (Canada)
Mastered At – MCA Pressing Plant, Gloversville
Published By – Illegal Songs, Inc.
Mixed At – Battery Studios, London
Pressed By – Cinram

CD Case Front
CD Case Back
Inside 1
Inside 2
Inside 3
Inside 4
Inside 5
Disc

The Alarm – Eye of the Hurricane – 1987

The third studio album from The Alarm came to us in 1987. It was very well received reaching number 23 in the UK secular charts and number 77 in the US secular charts. The band actually toured with Bob Dylan the same year in support of the album. They also played Greenbelt the same year giving the Christian festival attendees a sneak peek of the album. The first single was “Rain In The Summertime” and when asked about it Mike Peters said they wrote the song together as a band. He also had this to say “We had a huge battle and it tore us apart. To get to the end of the record and have that song, it felt like we’d weathered a massive storm. We’d come through the eye of the hurricane, and here was the rain at the end of this intense period just to wash away all the ill feeling and bad experiences that we had, to bring us together.” The album is actually a little difficult to categorize. On one hand it’s rock but on the other hand new wave and on the third hand pop. However you categorize it, it is very good and a must listen.

Tracklist
1 – Rain In The Summertime – 5:12
2 – Newtown Jericho – 4:05
3 – Hallowed Ground – 4:17
4 – One Step Closer To Home – 4:31
5 – Shelter – 3:08
6 – Rescue Me – 3:19
7 – Permanence In Change – 4:01
8 – Presence Of Love – 4:01
9 – Only Love Can Set Me Free – 4:22
10 – Eye Of The Hurricane – 3:38

Credits
Bass Guitar, Synth [Bass Synth], Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Eddie MacDonald
Design, Art Direction – Steve Stretton
Drums, Drum Programming [Linn Programming], Backing Vocals – Twist
Engineer – Tony Platt
Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar – Dave Sharp
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Harmonica – Mike Peters
Management – Ian Wilson, Third Light Management
Mastered By – Jay Willis
Mixed By – David Leonard (tracks: A1 to A3, A5, B1 to B4), Tony Platt (tracks: A4, B5)
Mixed By [Assistant] – Gary Wilkinson (tracks: A4, B5), Jim Champagne (tracks: A1 to A3, A5, B1 to B4), Nick Blundell (tracks: A4, B5), Ron DaSilva (tracks: A1 to A3, A5, B1 to B4)
Musician [Additional], Piano, Organ [Hammond] – Chris Stanton* (tracks: A4, B4, B5)
Musician [Additional], Piano, Synthesizer [Dx7] – Mark Taylor (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B3)
Photography By – Spencer Rowell
Producer – John Porter, The Alarm
Programmed By – MacDonald, Porter, Twist
Written-By – Sharp (tracks: A4), MacDonald (tracks: A2 to A4, B1 to B5), Peters (tracks: A2 to A4, B1 to B5), Twist (tracks: A4), The Alarm (tracks: A1, A5)

Companies, etc.
Manufactured By – MCA Records, Inc.
Distributed By – MCA Records, Inc.
Pressed By – Europadisk
Recorded At – Great Linford Manor
Mixed At – Soundcastle
Mixed At – Image Recording Studios
Mixed At – Great Linford Manor
Mastered At – Precision Lacquer
Phonographic Copyright (p) – International Record Syndicate, Inc.
Copyright (c) – International Record Syndicate, Inc.
Published By – Illegal Songs, Inc.

The Alarm – Declaration – 1984

This is the first offering from The Alarm and what an offering it was. They had actually released 5 EPs before this album so by the time the album came out many people were familiar with them. Many, if not most of the songs on the album were on those EP’s. The Alarm were still touring as warm up for U2 when this album finally came out and they actually finished the tour with U2. This gave people attending these concerts with what amounted to having two headline acts. The opening track “Declaration” sets the tone for the album letting new listeners they were in for a treat. While “68 Guns” was the huge hit personally I loved “Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?” This is one of the best albums released in the 80’s and is in my top 20 overall.

Tracklist
1 – Declaration – 0:45
2 – Marching On – 3:35
3 – Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke? – 2:56
4 – Third Light – 3:25
5 – Sixty Eight Guns – 5:49
6 – We Are The Light – 3:16
7 – Shout To The Devil – 4:10
8 – Blaze Of Glory – 6:04
9 – Tell Me – 3:14
10 – The Deceiver – 5:05
11 – The Stand (Prophecy) – 1:15
12 – Howling Wind – 6:44

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals – Dave Sharp
Bass Guitar, Electric Guitar, Guitar [Bowed], Vocals – Eddie Macdonald
Design, Art Direction – Michael Ross, Simon Adamcewski
Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Twist
Engineer – Chris Porter
Illustration – Robert Mason
Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica – Mike Peters
Photography By – Stephen Oliver
Producer, Keyboards – Alan Shacklock