Sounding The Alarm
With U2, Echo and Wah making an impression on the charts, The Alarm are confident of finding their niche as part of the present upsurging generation of '76 born-too-lates.
Nigel Twist, Dave Sharp, Eddie McDonald and Mike Peters met in Rhyl and were weaned pm support slots with The Clash and The Buzzcocks at Liverpool's Eric's.
Their efforts to liven up their hometown, by running a small venue, were eventually quashed by Discharge audience unappreciative on their 'no bouncers' policy. Disillusioned with the moronic destructive turn that marked the final collapse of punk, they adopted a more hopeful positive approach.
In mid 1982 The Alarm released their first single, a double 'a' side featuring two spirited songs marred only by fuzzy sound, on their own White Cross label, 'Unsafe Building/ Up For Murder' attracted little press attention but was taken on by Rough Trade who managed to shift 2,000 copies.
Since then they have based themselves in London, securing a deal with Illegal Records and playing more support slots to back the release of their second single, a rousing anthem 'Marching On'.
Mike Peters, vocalist and guitar player, eagerly substantiates his predictions of a musically exiting year ahead. 'A lot of people are looking for more than just music from the bands they go to see. Now's the time for us to inject our enthusiasm through the pages of interviews and the songs we write to get things moving again. We're the ones with the power to lift people up, and they can go forward.'
The confidence gained over the last few months, coupled with a general exuberance that's topped by Sharp's thrashing accoustic guitar work, lifts the bands sound above the clash copyist tag which could otherwise apply. The Alarm now deliver a tight set, supplying the perfect backdrop for their emotionally fervent, almost religious lyrics.
'Throw back the covers and make all your dreams come true/ Rebuild your life rebuild your home rethink your values / Rethink yourself right through' from 'Unsafe Building' states an optimistic theme that's recurrent throughout their set. Though recorded a year ago, the song still receives the best response live.
'You see, it doesn't matter if you're on the dole,' says Peters, 'It's important that you do something, anything, learn a musical instrument, start a fanzine, a pirate radio station.'
The Alarm's third single characteristically titled 'The Stand' is due for release in early April by which time they plan to play some major gigs.
Peters remains adamant that, in the wake of last year's untouchable bands such as ABC and Soft Cell, young bands currently charting mark a shift in the direction of the record-buying public.
'They're bands who've built up a following. With so many tribes out there, all possibly afraid of being tolerant of each other, music can unite us. We're all on the same side, the government hasn't got anything real to offer. None of us are of any political party, we just get on with the politics of youth.'