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Monday, 13 February 2017

Revisiting Declaration - The Alarm (1984)

Note: I have updated some artwork and the playlist a little bit since this was first posted a year ago. I also added a few links to some cover versions of songs from the album.
A new version of the album is set for release in March 2018 and you can find more details about it by clicking HERE.
- Doug 13/02/18.

Declaration - The Alarm
I.R.S. Records
Produced by Alan Shacklock
Released 13th February 1984
UK Album Charts #6
US Album Charts #50

Side One

Side Two
The Alarm
    Mike Peters - vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica
    Dave Sharp - acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
    Eddie Macdonald - bass, guitar, vocals
    Nigel Twist - drums, percussion, vocals

Singles On Declaration

A-Side: Marching On*

 Produced by The Alarm, Aricentus, Harry T. Murlowski, Ian Wilson, Steve Tannett 
Illegal Records
Released October 1982

*A bit of a different version appears on the album

A-Side: The Stand*
B-Side: Third Light (Live)

Produced by Mick Glossop
I.R.S. Records
Released April 1983
UK Chart #86

*The song is not included in full on the album. The playlist version above includes the full version instead of The shorter Prophecy version which I cannot find as a stand alone track on You Tube.

The 12" version included live versions of For Freedom and Reason 41 as B-Sides and both were recorded at The Marquee 30th January 1983 (as was Third Light on the 7").

A-Side: Sixty Eight Guns (Full Version
B-Side: Thoughts of a Young Man (12" only)

Produced by Alan Shacklock
I.R.S. Records 12"
Released August 1983
UK Chart #17
US Chart #106

The 7" Split the song into two parts with part 2 as the B-Side

 B-Side: Pavillion Steps / What Kind of Hell (Live) (12" Only)

Produced by Alan Shacklock
I.R.S. Records
Released January 1984
UK Chart #22

The single was released just prior to the Debut Album.

A-Side: The Deceiver
B-Side: Reason 41

 Produced by Alan Shacklock
I.R.S. Records
Released March 1984
UK Chart #51
US Chart #104

A Double 7" Pack included the second single with Lie of the Land on the A-Side and Legal Matter on the B-Side.

The 12" included Second Generation on the B-Side along with Reason 41.

In my life and my love of music there are a handful of albums that I consider to be little life changers. They are little signposts for me on the journey of my life and whilst they might not necessarily make sense to everyone else they make sense to me.

The albums are:

and today's choice Declaration by The Alarm.

Declaration is on the list as one of my favourite Debut Albums and in all the years since it was released it has remained on that list.

It's an album that I have replaced many times over the years as one copy has worn out with over playing and I've had it on pretty much every format apart from 8-Track (because I never had an 8-Track player!).

Whilst I loved the singles that were taken from it (and played them to death), when it comes to the album I never ever felt like I just wanted to play just one track from it, but rather always had this yearning to play the album from start to finish with no thought of even skipping a track, because it's really that good! And in 33 years I cannot imagine exactly how many times I've played it - thousands of times I reckon!

As I said, whilst it's an album I play from start to finish I do have favourite tracks on it and surprisingly they are not necessarily the singles! Dave Sharp's little ditty Tell Me is a real standout as is Howling Wind (which is probably my absolute favourie on the record). 

Such is the strength of the record that many of the songs are still played today by Mike Peters solo and the current manifestation of The Alarm and other members of the original line up of the band.

The Declaration Album 
Live in various places!

Rolling Stone Review

There's such a temptation in happy old America to make fun of The Alarm for their fretfulness. They're worried men with worried songs. But it's rare to hear a new band so committed and hopeful and smart, and they have a ringing, often stirring sound. With a fresh, muscular lineup of two acoustic guitars, bass and drums, The Alarm are both hippies and latter-day punks, descendants of both Bob Dylan and The Clash. The best cut here, "The Deceiver," is a melodic, anthemic rant against "the maker of illusions/You break up every dream we've ever made."

The Alarm has a better feel for a song than U2, and they're not as rah-rah as Big Country, but somehow they fit in a niche with those two bands: They share an optimism, an honesty that comes through the music. In songs like "Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?" with its rolling drums, they're not afraid to tackle big ideas ("After all time building up/Comes inevitable knocking down"). They're more interested in war and soldiers, truth and justice, than in girls. That passion for leading a march makes them come off a little too gung-ho – the songs go on and on, and they write too many lines about things like the "blaze of glory" – but it swells from their looking at what they think is deceitful, hollow and unholy. No wonder they're all shook up. This is one of the best new live bands I heard last year, and they've put a lot of that power into their first album.
(Debby Miller, 29th March 1984 -RS 418)

Notable Cover Versions of songs
from Declaration:

Sixty Eight Guns - The Jack Tars.
 Blaze of Glory - Audio Adrenaline.
  Tell Me (Live) - Loki The Grump.
The Stand - Last Tuesday.

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