Houston Calling

Review: The Alarm, Guerilla Tactics

August 17th, 2008 · No Comments

The Alarm, Guerilla Tactics

The Alarm
Guerilla Tactics
Twenty First Century Recording Company

Say what you will about Mike Peters, the man doesn’t give up. From slogging it out solo for years after leaving The Alarm in the early 90s to reforming the group at the turn of the century (with different members) to battling cancer, Peters thankfully just won’t quit. On his latest release with The Alarm, Peters employs the same “us against the world” theme he’s been hocking since 1984’s Declaration, but his current songs are about the battle for his life. Peters has never been that strong of a songwriter—to his credit, he’s too honest for that—a fact that unfortunately has kept him from reaching the heights of early peers U2 (which the band was often compared to in the 80s). On Guerilla Tactics, that same honesty will undoubtedly keep the masses from paying much attention. Not that Peters cares, mind you. He’s been struggling against naysayers from the beginning and refuses to let anything hold him back. Songs like “Fightback,” “Kill To Get What You Want [Die For What You Believe In],” and “Watching Me Watching You Watching Them Watching Us” offer glimpses into the singer’s mindset and give long-time fans another reason to respect their underdog hero.

Peters, along with guitarist James Stevenson (Generation X), bassist Craig Adams (The Mission), and drummer Steve Grantley (Stiff Little Fingers), whip up crowd-pleasing anthemic songs that hearken back to the punk spirit of the late 70s/early 80s. These legendary musicians haven’t softened a bit and keep the raw-edged riffs and short, punchy songs alive (production by Gilby Clarke doesn’t hurt). It’s vintage Alarm; the more I listen to The Alarm’s early music it’s evident Peters was a fan of The Jam, but whereas Paul Weller has mellowed with age (albeit very gracefully), Peters refuses to go out without a fight (to nab lyrics from the band’s 2006 release, Under Attack). Without the irony and depth of songwriting of his contemporaries, however, it simply doesn’t measure up–but if Peters did it any other way, it’d be dishonest. —David A. Cobb

You can listen to and buy Guerilla Tactics at www.thealarm.com or download from Amazon.

Tags: Music · Reviews

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment