The Twenty First Century Recording Company [Release date 29.06.18]
The Alarm return with their first new album since 2010′s ‘Direct Action’, although there was an album entitled ‘Blood Red’ which came out last year and features a few songs on the ‘Equals’ album.
Mike Peters and his wife Jules are the perfect example of inspiring people as both are in remission after cancer treatment and they have registered over 170,000 people to the International Bone Marrow Donor Registry. You could be forgiven thinking that with all this going on in their lives they would have little time for music. However they do, with an annual Alarm concert at the summit of Snowdonia and they are regularly on the road touring.
‘Equals’ starts of with a little electronic dance beat, yes that’s right dance beat, on ‘Two Rivers’. On top of this is the distinctive heartfelt vocals of Mike Peters and plenty of acoustic and electric guitar action, the latter supplied by James Stevenson (The Cult, Holy Holy).
In fact many of the songs on here use electronica to good effect such as on ‘Thirteen Dead Reindeer’ which sees again the dance beats combining well with the guitars and vocals. With some bands, going a bit modern like this often ends in failure and disgruntled fans, not so in the Alarm’s case as they add these to their established sound as opposed to other way round.
The Cult’s Billy Duffy guests and trades guitar licks with Peters and Stevenson on ‘Coming Backwards’, a beast of a tune. Mike Peters’ has plenty of issues to share with us including an uplifting ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Peace Now’, which borrows a line from Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’. ‘Neutral’ could apply to many of us fed up with being told to take sides or declare a political stance, rather we remain true to ourselves and remain neutral.
Mike Peters and The Alarm still have plenty to say and we’d do well to listen. Great to see them back and ‘Equals’ will keep fans satisfied for many weeks, months, and years to come. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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