The Alarm 68 Guns
A song, a real song, without synth saturation, without a free video bonus.... someone pass the smelling salts!
The Alarm are very much part of the current refreshing return to emotion in pop, though they're less hectic than Case, more down to earth than U2 and maybe more up-front and forceful - despite the acoustic guitars - than the beautiful Big Country.
The epical opening surges into a stirring, swirling verse featuring slightly breathless but confidently powerful lyrics from Mike Peters before the 'YAY-AY, YEY AY' terrace yells that introduce the anthemic chorus refrain of '68 Guns will never die / '68 Gun our battle cry'.
1968 of course being the year that youth said no. Hundreds of thousands took to the street against Vietnam, young French workers and students brought France to the brink of revolution, and in the States while the hippies roasted their dope, young blacks roasted Watts.
The Alarm celebrate the spirit of perpetual youth revolt in a number that's got more punch than a dentist's waiting room, more spirit than a Charing Cross dossers' convention, and more passion than a Harold Robins paperback.
It's more to do with punk than anything Crass have ever recorded but it's Dylan and the Clash the melodies bring to mind. And it's bolstered by neat Beatles - like guitar parts, tasty trumpet and harmonica touches, and handsome harmonies that make the Neurotics sound almost amateur hour.
The big production might alienate some, but to these ears it gives the song a Springsteen feel that's supremely airplayable. It's more moving than Pickford's and deserves to be Top Ten.