For Record Store Day April 13, 2019, The Alarm released a live album in support of their 1985 album ‘Strength’. It was a previously unreleased show recorded at the Boston Orpheum Theatre on November 9th, 1985. Since ‘Strength’ is one of my favorite albums, this was quickly added to the albums I needed to grab on RSD.
The album has 20 songs, of which, 16 have never been released before (officially). There have been bootlegs of the show, but none with the actual mixed recording which was done about a month after the show by Nigel Luby. The sound is untouched and no overdubs. It is as it was back in the day. You can hear the rawness, the crowd and you know it is truly live. It is fantastic.
With only 2 albums out at this time, the band played a ton of songs from both ‘Declaration’ and ‘Strength’ (which hadn’t been out long) and some you hadn’t heard before. Songs like “Majority” and “The Chant Has Just Begun” were not on the studio albums, but later released as bonus tracks on deluxe editions. You get to hear them live here before ever seeing the light day.
Continue reading “The Alarm – Strength Live ’85 (RSD) – Album Review”
Has there ever been a band that you loved and then suddenly stopped paying attention to any new releases? The Alarm was that for me. I followed them throughout the 80’s and after 1989’s album ‘Change’, just stopped listening to new stuff. No reason, just stopped. It is strange and I can’t figure out why.
So when I saw they had a new album being released, something told me to listen to it. Now if I wasn’t doing this blog, would I have cared or paid attention? I can’t answer that, but the thing is I did pay attention and I did listen to their new release this time. And I am hear to tell you I am so glad I did.
Now Mike Peters is the only original member still in the band and usually that would bother me, but Mike was always my draw anyway. I loved his vocals, his delivery and his style and with him still at the mic, I am still getting what I liked.
From the first notes of the opening track, “Two Rivers”, there was a familiarity to it with the minor exceptions of some electronica sounds which I don’t recall the band ever doing. However, that was a minor distraction. Mike Peters sounded amazing and he hadn’t lost anything which is amazing considering he has been around singing since the late 70’s.
Continue reading “The Alarm – ‘Equals’ – Album Review”
For My Sunday Song #46, I have chosen “The Day The Ravens Left The Tower” by The Alarm. The song is off the album, ‘Strength’, from 1985 and is one of my all time favorite albums from the 80’s. They were never hugely popular in the States although MTV played them a lot. The album did reach #39 on the Billboard 200 Chart.
“The Day The Ravens Left the Tower” is a very dark song and was a real jump in their songwriting lyrically. They have always been political with their songs, but the maturity and growth in songwriting really shined on this song for me. I know I read this somewhere that the song was inspired by a hallucination that Eddie MacDonald had when he was sick with the flu. I think that is cool if that is true.
What I am fascinated with about the song is actually the story of the ravens. For those that don’t know, there are ravens that live in the Tower of London. There have been ravens living there since as far back as 1660 or so around the time of King Charles II. It is believed that the ravens are there to protect the Crown. If they should ever leave the tower, the Crown and Britain would fall. I know there is a lot more to the story, but I am not a historian and the site is about music so you can look it up further if you are interested…it is fascinating stuff (also any UK readers want to add anything, please leave a comment).
Continue reading “My Sunday Song – “The Day The Ravens Left the Tower” by the Alarm”