The Twenty First Century Recording Company [Released 02.10.15]
For the thirtieth anniversary of this classic Alarm album Mike Peters has gone and re-recorded the whole album. Not only that, the lyrics have been updated in many cases and he has Jimmy Iovine (U2/Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen) help on production. Iovine was meant to help on the original album’s recording but due to record company wranglings this never happened until now.
Lots of interesting sounds and changes to the originals. Picking out a couple of personal highlights, ‘Absolute Reality’ has a slower, acoustic backing and it makes the song stronger than the original version. It helps that Mike Peters has lost none of his vocal power down the years.
‘Spirit Of ’76′ still has that rousing feeling it stirs in the listener, whilst on ‘Strength’ the background riff sounds a little like Neil Young’s ‘The Needle & The Damage Done’. Again the new arrangement works and although this may appear to be sacrilege to some die hard fans, the idea is to update the music and lyrics in some cases and bring out the hidden parts in other songs.
This is a whole new album in reality, not a simple re-recording that some bands have done to get some of their songwriting royalties due to bad management deals, but a reworking from the ground up on each song. It has worked and then some. The reworked ‘Strength’ will appeal to both old and new fans, as the songs are still as powerful and relevant today as they were thirty years ago. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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