The Alarm - 'Equals'

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The Alarm - 'Equals'

An absolute belter of an album.

It's been eight years since The Alarm last delivered an album and thirty-five years since they released '68 Guns', a song likely to be the only one that many of you have ever heard. Don't worry if that's the case, though, as 'Equals' proves that it's never too late to get into a quality band.

Front-man Mike Peters (who served for a few years in fellow Brit Indie(ish) Rock band Big Country) has had a pretty shitty health record over the last two decades, and the fight against it is very evident in the songs here, as is the need to be a voice that cries against injustice and oppression. There's even a song about dead reindeer, although I'm sure I'm missing the point of that one. In all seriousness, The Alarm have always been a bit like U2's bratty little brothers, continuing to make solid, angry music whilst big brother was off sucking a corporate teat or two.

'Equals' continues that tradition and I'm very pleased to say that it has a very strong Rock vibe with crashing guitars all over the place. They still have that rough, Indie vibe they had back in the early eighties, while Mike Peters sounds as good as he ever did. Lead single 'Beautiful' is a good example of what's inside – a catchy, rocky track that exudes attitude and melody. Elsewhere, I was very impressed by the anti-war song 'Cenotaph' and the fist in the air closer 'Tomorrow', but in fairness, there's no rubbish here in any way shape or form.

'Equals' will, I'm sure, get tons of rave reviews. The thing is, it needs to get out to all the people like me and many of you that have never really given the band too many second glances. There's an undeniable U2 feeling, but it's U2 when they had something to say and when they wanted to Rock out. This album could only come from a British band, but the messages within are unilateral, so too is the music. This is a tremendous return from The Alarm and 'Equals' is an absolute belter of an album.

Alan Holloway

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