The Alarm “Declaration” Review (5 stars)

The Alarm’s first real album is one of the best ever recorded by any band in any year throughout the history of rock n’ roll. How can I say this? Because I truely believe it. No album has ever grabbed, shook, and thrown me the way this one did the first time I heard in 1984 and no album will ever do the same. Not a mere collection of songs, this album is a true “rennaissanace” of rock music. It is filled at once, with child-like naivite`, youthful exuberance, teenage angst, and adult recollection brimming with the notion that “dreams are what you make them” that never veers towards cynicism. This was not an album of “protest” songs or “revolution” songs, but rather an epic that captures, on record, the exact moment when youth is turning into adulthood, trying to decide what to take with it, and what to leave behind. “Declaration” stands at the cusp between old and new, between cessation and change. The album embraces the sounds and ideas of previous Alarm recordings, but adds many new thoughts, instruments, and arrangements that push the music into a vibrant new mold that points to the future. The centerpiece of “Declaration” is “Sixty Eight Guns”, about an imaginary gang of friends set in the year 1968. We do not have to worry, as one misguided reviewer put it 13 years ago, “just what The Alarm is going to do with their ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ ” because those guns never existed. “Sixty Eight Guns” is not a song about rebellion, it is a metaphor for youth and friendship, for holding onto what you believe, even if the world keeps telling you a different story. In a nutshell, “Sixty Eight Guns” is a microcosm of the entire album. From the sweetness of “We Are The Light”, to the fury of “Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?”, from the soul searching “Tell Me” to the mysteries contained in “Shout To The Devil”, from the heart wrenching “Blaze Of Glory”, to the beautiful, sweeping sound of “Howling Wind”, “Declaration” has it all. It is a true classic.

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