Artist: The Alarm
Title: The Alarm (Debut EP)
Musicians: Mike Peters: Vocals, Dave Sharp: Guitars,Eddie Macdonald: Bass,
Nigel Twist: Drums, Mark Feltham: Harmonica, Angie Knox: Keyboards
Engineer: Jess Suttcliffe
The Alarm are a Welsh alternative rock/new wave band that formed in Rhyl, North Wales, in 1981. Initially formed as a punk band “The Toilets” under lead singer Mike Peters the band soon embraced rock. You can still hear strong punk influence in their music,especially on this debut EP.
The founding members are:
Dave Sharp: Guitars – Born David Kitchingman, 28 January 1959, Salford, England.
Eddie Macdonald: Bass – born 1 November 1959, St Asaph, Wales.
Nigel Twist: Drums – born Nigel Buckle, 18 July 1958, Manchester, England.
From Wikipedia: In 1982, the band began to record demos for various record labels, but had little success. At this point, they were playing with three acoustic guitarists. The bands were eventually offered a deal by I.R.S. Records. This forced them to make a decision on who was to play which musical instrument, and it was decided that Peters would concentrate on singing, with Sharp on guitar and Macdonald playing bass.
“Marching On” was released as a single in October 1982, and the band’s sound started to become clear. On stage, they would almost always begin gigs acoustically, before finishing with electric guitars. Constant gigging in London helped the band build up a following, and in December 1982, they played four shows with U2. These shows were the first time that Bono joined The Alarm on stage.
A new song, “The Stand”, was recorded in Battersea in April 1983, and was released in the UK as a single. The song’s lyrics were inspired by Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Outside the UK, the song was released as part of a five-track EP, entitled The Alarm. (That is what I am writing about in this review). The EP was released to coincide with The Alarm’s first tour of the U.S. in June 1983.
In June 1983, The Alarm embarked on their first tour of the U.S., supporting U2 on the War Tour. The 18-date tour went a long way in establishing the band in the U.S. (I attended one of these shows, which is how I first heard them).
In fact, U2 really supported The Alarm and believed in them. Here’s proof: https://youtu.be/AfugCvXjyFw
I also met The Alarm back in the 80’s by chance and surprise. A friend and I were record shopping at a tiny little shop in Huntington Beach called Camel Records, which by the way, is long defunct sadly. It was a great little shop that carried lots of imports and such.
I recall we were looking through the bins around the middle of the shop and there were maybe two other customers there at the time. We were finished and turned to head toward the door to leave when it opened and in walked 4 strange-looking guys dressed for the party, if you will. Startled at first, it took me a minute to realize it was The Alarm. The other worker at the counter went back to get the owner and my friend and I saw that they had some stuff with them they were dropping off. (This was right before the Strength LP and it turns out they were playing a concert that night as well). One of the other customers walked up and started talking to them and they all just kind of hung out for a moment at the front counter chatting. I walked up and introduced myself saying hello somewhat timidly. Turns out these guys were the most soft-spoken characters I ever met and just as sweet as you please. I did not get autographs or anything as I have never been one for asking for such. (I do accept if offered). Just meeting them, being greeted warmly and having a brief chat was enough to burn to memory because they were such nice guys. Quite humble and nice all around, sticking around for a moment to meet folks impromptu. That’s as good as it gets folks.
This EP to me is great rebel music and some of the best punk influenced music ever. You can sense the passion in their songs.
The Stand: My least favorite on the EP as the lyrics seem a little religious. Still a great song though.
Across The Border: This has that core punk feel to it, great punk rebel song
Marching On: I like the way this song starts out with the ringing acoustic guitars and Mike Peters making the Declaration. To me, this is a song of courage and hope for a generation. It speaks to the sixties, the current generation and beyond, it’s timeless in my opinion. Great lyrics.
Lie Of The Land: To me, this is a song of hope and encouragement and it’s a call for all to protect what good there is.
For Freedom: To me, this is a call to a cause song and a full-blown song of courage.