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The Alarm: When The Storm Broke

Decade-old live album redressed as ‘greatest hits’.

The label’s called Secret. But it’s doubtful whether many punters will realise just what the packaging of this product is hiding. Without opening the cellophane wrapper, there’s nothing to indicate that this ‘2CD set featuring the hits’ is anything other than a straight-up Best Of collection. But it’s not.

In fact it’s a live album, and not even a new one; it was originally released in 2003 as The Sound & The Fury (puzzlingly, also the name of Mike Peters’s collection of re-recordings from 2012). There’s no doubt that The Alarm’s best moments – hits like Where Were You Hiding (When The Storm Broke),_ 68 Guns_ and the Springsteenian anthemics of Spirit Of ‘76 – are timeless, rabble-rousing rock anthems that deserve to endure. And these live renditions of them and 27 other songs from 1981-91 do them impressive justice.

But the marketing of this package (810 for the album; 210 for the marketing) does not. A band who traded on notions of honesty, integrity, three chords and the truth, and fans who bought into that philosophy, deserve better.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock