CD Review: The Alarm “Equals”

Every so often there comes a band that should be a lot larger popularity-wise than they are. This is a band that has been around a long time but has not gained the popularity they truly deserve. One particular band out there right now that could be described this is the Welsh Rock and Roll band called The Alarm.

It was back in 1981 that Mike Peters and the rest of the band formed the band called The Alarm. That band came to be after the previous group called The Toilets came to an end. With The Toilets, the music was more Punk-based. That sound and style changed with the founding of the band called The Alarm.

As a band, The Alarm combined some New Wave elements and Rock and Roll elements to form the basis of the band’s sound. What resulted is a sound that is rather similar in some ways to the styles of bands like INXS or U2. During the time the band was together, they enjoyed a certain amount of popularity, although that popularity never quite hit here in the states. However, for those who know the band, The Alarm is known for such songs as “Rain in the Summertime,” “Spirit of ’76,” “Rescue Me,” and the song that made the most noise for the band, “Sixty Eight Guns“. 

Throughout the history of the band, The Alarm had three separate time periods, taking a few years off here and there. The last time the band had been together was back in 2010. The band took some time off until lead singer Mike Peters regained the desire to perform with his band mates after spending some time as the frontman of the Scottish band Big Country where Peters filled in for deceased guitarist and lead singer Stuart Adamson who took his own life back in 2001. As the fill-in for Adamson, Mike Peters gained a desire to put his own band back together again and the band of The Alarm reunited and have since released several new albums of music.

In total, The Alarm has released in excess of fifteen albums. They have also released several versions of a Greatest Hits collection from the band that adds to the number of releases in the band’s discography. In fact, the band just recently added yet another album to their impressive discography of music. The newest album from The Alarm is entitled Equals.

Equals from The Alarm begins with the song “Two Rivers”. With this track, the band finds itself going back to the early days of its existence as the music in this song is a combination of both New Wave and Alternative. The track begins with a sound that would have been right at home on radio back in the eighties during the original phase of New Wave music. The keyboards on the track bring to mind the early days of bands like OMD or Depeche Mode. The New Wave feel is soon joined up by an musical influence that brings to mind the early days of Alternative Rock. The two styles combine in this track to create a track that truly feels more commercial than either of the styles on their own. The lyrics to “Two Rivers” deal with two people who have gone their separate ways because of a disagreement. Mike Peters sings of hoping that the two people will get back together where the “two rivers meet” so that they can work things out. The track “Two Rivers” feels very welcome in a time of strong uncertainty in the world.

It is with the first single off of the release that the Equals album from The Alarm continues. That song is entitled “Beautiful”. While much of the band’s earlier music contained a New Wave flavor to it, this track seems to find the band firmly embracing the feel of Alternative Rock. As a matter of fact, the song not only contains and Alternative feel, the track’s sound brings to mind some of the heavier work from the band U2. And while there is a certain amount of U2 influence to the music of the track, “Beautiful” contains a driving feel to the music that gives the song more of a Rock and Roll feel to the music than Pop-rock feel that is usually found on that other band’s music. “Beautiful” has a strong musical approach that would fit right in on any Top 40 radio format.

With the next track, Mike Peters and company create a track with the help of British musician and lead guitarist of the band The Cult, Billy Duffy. The track “Coming Backwards” takes the band’s music in a slightly retro feel. The resulting track features a sound that brings to mind the Power Rock music from the eighties. In fact, “Coming Backwards” would easily have fit on radio back in the eighties. For today’s music scene, the track has enough of a current feel to it that the track comes across as timeless. The lyrics to “Coming Backwards” deal with doing the same thing over and over again. The track ends up being one of the stronger tracks on the release.

The song “Transatlantic” features a sound that makes use of musical influences found back in the nineties. The track’s Rock and Roll approach combines the feel of the band U2 with that of earlier music from The Alarm. The musical blend on the track would fit right in with musical from either band. The track deals with someone in a long distance relationship. The lyrics deal with the singer missing someone on the other side of the world. This track is perfect for anyone who is currently missing someone who is far away from them.

Taking the music in a slightly different direction, the song “Thirteen Dead Reindeer” features an Alternative Rock feel with plenty of electronica influence thrown in. The result is a song that that has a strong beat to it as well as a driving feel to the pace of the music. The track’s sound falls somewhere between modern and slightly retro. The lyrics to the track deal with the senseless killing of animals and the fallout that happens afterward.

For two tracks on the band’s newest album, The Alarm create songs that deal with conflict. With the song “Neutral,” Mike Peters sings about not wanting to get involved with other people’s problems. At the same time, the track “Cenotaph” (a word that describes an empty tomb) deals with getting ready for the war that is about to start. With the way the world is right now, the two tracks seem to be speaking volumes about the current political atmosphere.

One of the more unusual tracks (for both the album and the band itself), “Hell Fire” is a track that truly separates itself from the rest of the album. The track contains a style of Rock and Roll and a lyrical content that combine to create track that Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails would be proud of. In fact, the track’s Nine Inch Nails sound only helps to point out that Mike Peters’ writing has been shaped by many different influences.

Mike Peters has really picked up a lot of different musical influences over the years. Those influences have helped to shape Equals from The Alarm. The ever-changing sound and feel of each of the tracks as well as the talents from the rest of the band have combined to create a release that features a musical sound that never really stays in one place. That ever-changing style on the album is sure to please any lover of Rock and Roll music.

The Alarm is currently promoting their new album called Equals. To help promote the new album, the band has released the song “Beautiful”. Click HERE to check out the video to “Beautiful”.

To check out the newest album from The Alarm called Equals, click on the album cover below: