Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents...The Alarm
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
A brilliant document of an amazing live band!
email@example.com | Redondo Beach, California | 05/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"King Biscuit: The Alarm 1999 King Biscuit RecordsThere has always been a huge gap in album catalog from the Welsh band The Alarm: a scorching live album. Sure, the band recorded two of the best rock albums of the 80's (1984's "Declaration", and 1985's "Strength"), but hearing The Alarm "in-the-studio" was only half the story. In it's time The Alarm's live performances were nothing short of legendary. They didn't merely "take-the-stage" but more accurately "held it hostage", blasting their unique mix of acoustic guitars, stomping rhythms, and fiery vocals to a frantic and amazed audience left gasping for breathe and screaming for more. The band released an the E.P. in 1988 called "Electric Folklore: Live", but that 6 song disappointment did more to show how The Alarm's troubles as unit in the late 80's than display their sheer magnificence as a live band.Now, in 1999, 8 years after then band broke up, King Biscuit Flower Hour has released a live album that should fill the live-album gap, and at the same time, finally secure The Alarm as one of the 80's most underrated bands. Recorded in late 1983 at The Paradise Theatre, Boston MA, "King Biscuit: The Alarm" is a marvelous testament to The Alarm as a band who were song-writers and performers at heart, as well talented musicians. The album begins with an outstanding version of "For Freedom" from The Alarm E.P. and doesn't let up until the bands strums the final chords of the beautiful "We Are The Light" from the "Declaration" album. King Biscuit included the full-set, nothing has been edited or deleted. Only a couple of the band's well-known hits were written in 1983 ("Sixty Eight Guns", "The Stand"), so the set is filled with sparkling performances of songs that were buried on albums, or very early singles. This is a great advantage, because it proves that The Alarm were not only a very unique band with many varied influences, but also were more than the anthem-spouting rabble-rousers the music press dismissed them as in the 80's. Diversity is really the key to the success of this album. Not only are the songs multi-faceted, but so are the musicians. Mike Peters sings lead vocals on nine of the fourteen tracks, but guitarist Dave Sharp takes the lead with four stunning performances (including brilliant versions of "Tell Me" and "Across The Border"), and even bassist Eddie MacDonald belts out his "unknown soldier" epic, "Third Light". The two best tracks are the emotional sizzler "Blaze Of Glory", and the storming rocker "Unsafe Building", the first song The Alarm ever recorded. The only fault I can find with the album is that the well-known songs sound rather tepid compared their recorded counterparts. Even this is understandable however, as these are merely early versions of songs that would one-day become classics. Also, because the album includes the full set from the show in contains two versions of "Marching On". It seems odd, but since the song is amazing, it takes nothing away from the the performance.After the show concludes, the listener in treated to very good, recent interview with Alarm front-man Mike Peters. The 10 minute segment includes some hilarious and interesting insight from Mike Peters photographic memory of Alarm history. As live show, this CD is highly entertaining. As a historic document, it provides amazing insight into one of the 80's best bands. As an album it is thoroughly enjoyable and gets my highest recommendation.-Steve Fulton"
The Alarm give a Command Performance
BILLSHOW@PRODIGY.NET | Pittsburgh, Pa. | 05/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well before I discovered The Alarm, they toured with U2(the WAR Tour), recorded an EP, transformed themselves from a folk/punk (ala The Clash) band to a Rock/Pop Band who had a unique talent for shouting the simple truths that tore down the walls of convention. In their raw energy I found compatriots in my disaffection with the status quo, and in the lyrics I found kindered spirits in the hope of something better in the distance. Although I still grieve the demise of The Alarm, I revel in the legacy that they have left behind and thus I will finally get to specifics about this recording. Before they recorded their first album on I.R.S., they played a gig at the Paradise in Boston which resulted in this CD. In some ways this is as close as you can get to the roots of The Alarm. This is The Alarm at their rawest (though not ragged) and captures the energy of the band playing live. One criticism that dogged the band throughout their career was that their albums never captured the power of their live performance. Not only were their studio albums more restrained, but there seemed to be a concerted effort to move to a more orchestrated sound. Regardless of the dynamics, each album represented a progression of musical/lyrical development. This CD definitely presents a picture of a band on the verge of something big. As an Alarm fan, I am grateful that this gem has finally been released. As a reviewer, it is hard for me to be impartial. If you can only buy one Alarm CD, I recommend 1985's Strength, but if you are bold enough to take a chance, get this CD to feel the energy of a band that has the guts to "open up its heart and soul". At the point in time that this was recorded, The Alarm looked forward to an open horizon. Transport yourself to 1983 and imagine your reaction to this performance. I think you'll be surprised at your reaction. Once a connection is made, you will be a fan forever. It's rare to find a band that you relate to that says the things that you feel in a way that will comfort and disturb you throughout your life, but that's what the Alarm has done for me. Hopefully, you will enjoy this recording and it will spark you to seek out other Alarm recordings/albums that will further inspire you to "throw back the covers and make all of your dreams come true. ""
Good, But not as good as at The Barrowlands
BILLSHOW@PRODIGY.NET | 06/01/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great Live CD.Those Alarm fans who haven't got bootleg tapes of concerts will really enjoy this.Listening to the CD takes me back to the numerous times I saw the boys at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. They are just the best live band ever."