Standards (Alarm)

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
During the early '80s, the Alarm were seen as rivals to U2 -- a Welsh variation of the passionate Dublin quartet, driven by the same righteous anger, anthemic hooks, and love for the Clash. They never quite matched their inspirations in terms of sales or critical respect, despite a series of acclaimed records that were minor sensations during the '80s. By the time the career retrospective Standards was released in late 1990, the band had already been somewhat forgotten, partially because they never had a big crossover hit, and also because they were forever tied to the Reagan/Thatcher era. Consequently, the Alarm were relegated to also-ran status and nearly ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
During the early '80s, the Alarm were seen as rivals to U2 -- a Welsh variation of the passionate Dublin quartet, driven by the same righteous anger, anthemic hooks, and love for the Clash. They never quite matched their inspirations in terms of sales or critical respect, despite a series of acclaimed records that were minor sensations during the '80s. By the time the career retrospective Standards was released in late 1990, the band had already been somewhat forgotten, partially because they never had a big crossover hit, and also because they were forever tied to the Reagan/Thatcher era. Consequently, the Alarm were relegated to also-ran status and nearly forgotten by anyone who didn't actively read the music press in the '80s -- not an entirely fair fate, yet not an entirely undeserved one either. Listening to Standards, a thoroughly representative, basic collection of their singles and significant album tracks, confirms that the band were certainly not without talent or charms, but they suffered at the hands of state-of-the-art record production. They have a number of solid anthemic songs -- "Sixty Eight Guns," "Marching On," "Spirit of '76," "Sold Me Down the River," among them -- but it's hard to hear them as anything other than a product of their times, largely due to the glossy, shiny production. Such studio skills were evidently designed to make the band sound a bit like U2, but the band's music didn't have the jagged edges of U2 -- it was straight-ahead, driving rock, derived from the earnestness of folk-rock and the Clash's huge, rallying sound. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and it did produce some satisfying music, all of which is included here. But it ultimately produced music that was a sign of the times, not music that transcended it. The Alarm remain an interesting footnote because, ironically, while they strove to make music mean something in a slick commercial age, they were constantly plagued by overly slick productions -- an irony only the '80s could produce, actually.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/1/1990
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 022071305624
  • Catalog Number: 13056

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best band of the 80's

    I wish more people knew the Alarm. And I'm glad to have finally found a place that sells them so I can replace my rather worn out cassette with a shiny new CD.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unheralded Band Shines on this Best of Package

    Overshadowed by the likes of U2 in the 1980s. This Welsh band has a commercial/cult kinship with The Replacements. Songs that mean something played by a rock solid band of talented musicians. Though the commercial success and acceptance The Alarm sought was eluseive, these tunes now stand up next to anything by REM or U2. Looking back its hard to understand why these guys were overlooked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Alarm Compilation Above Standard Fare

    Power Chord band The Alarm were an above-average '80's outfit who from 1981 to 1990 melded stadium rock with political consciousness. At times it was an uneasy alliance (imagine social protest legend Phil Ochs using Aerosmith as backup), but the sincerity of lead singer/songwriter Mike Peters and crew were never in doubt. The 1990 compilation ''Standards'' does an excellent job of collecting their most popular music into one superlative disc and showcases their best anthemic pieces while underplaying the blatant sloganeering that marrs their lesser-known material. All-out belters like the forgotten classic ''Strength'' and shimmering pop (of which 1987's ''Rain in the Summertime'' is their most famous) make ''Standards'' the only essential album of the band's career and a must for any 1980's affecionado.

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