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Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 28, 2019 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 16, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 28, 2019 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 16, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Rock - Released November 1, 1985 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

In addition to an improved sense of musicality and dynamics, Strength featured the Alarm's finest group of songs, making it their single best studio album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1990 | I.R.S. Records

During the early '80s, the Alarm were seen as rivals to U2 -- a Welsh variation of the passionate Dublin quartet, driven by the same righteous anger, anthemic hooks, and love for the Clash. They never quite matched their inspirations in terms of sales or critical respect, despite a series of acclaimed records that were minor sensations during the '80s. By the time the career retrospective Standards was released in late 1990, the band had already been somewhat forgotten, partially because they never had a big crossover hit, and also because they were forever tied to the Reagan/Thatcher era. Consequently, the Alarm were relegated to also-ran status and nearly forgotten by anyone who didn't actively read the music press in the '80s -- not an entirely fair fate, yet not an entirely undeserved one either. Listening to Standards, a thoroughly representative, basic collection of their singles and significant album tracks, confirms that the band were certainly not without talent or charms, but they suffered at the hands of state-of-the-art record production. They have a number of solid anthemic songs -- "Sixty Eight Guns," "Marching On," "Spirit of '76," "Sold Me Down the River," among them -- but it's hard to hear them as anything other than a product of their times, largely due to the glossy, shiny production. Such studio skills were evidently designed to make the band sound a bit like U2, but the band's music didn't have the jagged edges of U2 -- it was straight-ahead, driving rock, derived from the earnestness of folk-rock and the Clash's huge, rallying sound. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it did produce some satisfying music, all of which is included here. But it ultimately produced music that was a sign of the times, not music that transcended it. The Alarm remain an interesting footnote because, ironically, while they strove to make music mean something in a slick commercial age, they were constantly plagued by overly slick productions -- an irony only the '80s could produce, actually. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Alternative & Indie - Released June 29, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Written by Mike Peters, Equals deals with Peters' 2005 recovery from leukemia and subsequent relapse, and his wife's own battle with cancer. Produced by George Williams, the album includes the lead single "Beautiful." ~ Rich Wilson
Raw

Rock - Released December 22, 2017 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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It's hard to avoid the conclusion that The Alarm's fifth new studio album, Raw, released six months after the career-summarizing hits collection Standards, was a contractual obligation record. Lacking promotion, it crept into the pop chart for a single week at number 161, while the title track earned some AOR and college radio play. Despite that title, this was another competent mainstream rock collection, its unnecessary highlight a cover of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." "Moments in Time" presented a ballad-tempo history of the band, always a sure sign of an impending breakup ("Creeque Alley," "The Ballad of Mott," etc.): "Somewhere we got lost along the way," sings Mike Peters. Sad, but true. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released November 16, 1987 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

This should have been the album that put the Alarm on the path to major stardom; instead, it marked the limits of their appeal. From the early fervor of their punk/acoustic debut, the group had evolved into more of a mainstream rock act without ever getting out from under the shadow of their mentors, U2. In fact, here, they sounded more like U2 than ever, and now that that group had ascended to superstardom, the comparison only hurt them. The signal hit here was "Rain In The Summertime," an overproduced leadoff track followed by "Rescue Me" and "Presence Of Love." All three tracks got AOR radio play in the U.S., so you couldn't say the Alarm wasn't getting exposure, especially when they were touring with Bob Dylan. However, they weren't getting through. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Rock - Released April 25, 2005 | Eagle Rock Entertainment

Taken from a few December reunion shows in 2000, the Alarm's Greatest Hits Live is a document of their eventual comeback after almost ten years of being apart. The U2 comparisons that have dogged them through their entire career have been thrown aside now that Bono has traded in the self-important rock-savior image. What that means is that the Alarm may be one of the few bands really making this sort of music anymore, and although these are all songs from the past, they seem that much more important because of it. Mike Peters and the gang play every song as if it's their last encore; they put a lot of passion and power into their performances and it shows on the album. The only shame of the entire project is the lack of variety in the track listing. Every song has that same sweeping, epic sound that the one before it did. During "Marching On," the first real song of the album, the music is at its most effective point because of the power and emotion put behind it. But by the middle of the album, it starts getting a little redundant. These are all excellent performances, but they just suffer from a general sameness that keeps it from being truly great. Probably the nicest part of the whole thing is that the band still sounds good, even vital at times, which is something that few bands from that era can still give to their material. The time off might have helped, but the Alarm still has some fuel in the tank yet. Fans of the band will probably want to give this a listen, but for casual listeners it might be better to start at Best of the Alarm & Mike Peters and move on to their other material from there. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Rock - Released March 15, 2019 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 24, 2019 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

Rock - Released December 22, 2017 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 16, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

Rock - Released December 22, 2017 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Clearly, change was called for in the Alarm's career, and on their fourth album, the group achieved a tighter hard rock sound by turning to producer Tony Visconti. Their extensive roadwork and promotional efforts had opened doors for them at AOR and college radio, which played "Sold Me Down The River," "Devolution Workin' Man Blues," and "Love Don't Come Easy." "River" even became The Alarm's biggest U.S. hit single, peaking at #50. But the album sold about the same as Eye Of The Hurricane, indicating that all the hard work had only enabled them to run in place. The problem remained the same: The Alarm had calmed down from its early martial style and turned into a competent mainstream rock band, but they still sounded too much like U2, and the rock riffs and throaty vocals still didn't add up to memorable songs. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 21, 2019 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

Alternative & Indie - Released February 9, 2018 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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Rock - Released December 22, 2017 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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The Alarm chose to address the career crisis precipitated by their declining record sales by emphasizing their live act in the form of this six-song EP, recorded in concert at the Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston on April 26, 1988. Lead singer Mike Peters took the opportunity to criticize American radio and quote Woody Guthrie. The set effectively demonstrated that the group was a powerhouse live, but did not in itself reverse their fortunes, getting to #62 in the U.K., and, in the U.S., where nobody's ever understood what EPs are for, only #167. What they really needed was a hit, and it was getting hard to understand why a band that seemed to want to write an anthem every time out couldn't get one. ~ William Ruhlmann

Rock - Released December 22, 2017 | Twenty First Century Recording Company

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