Alarm The Sound & The Fury: Live 1981 to 1991

The impassioned idealism of the Clash and U2 are said to have tremendously influenced the early days of the Alarm and the Welsh quartet live up to this rep on this career-spanning live collection. Ostensibly, The Sound & The Fury captures the band over a ten-year arc (despite the album’s subtitle, the material is actually drawn from shows between 1983 and 1991) in both its folky, acoustic form and its bombastic, arena rock incarnation. The two discs contain some of the band’s best-known songs including "Where Were You Hiding? (When The Storm Broke),” "Sixty Eight Guns,” "Rescue Me,” and a kick-ass version of "Strength.” In keeping with the band’s gritty aesthetic, this is a bit of a warts-and-all affair. There’s an off-key "Unbreak The Promise,” not to mention some brutal butchering of classics such as "Keep on Rockin’ In The Free World” and an ill-advised medley that contains garbled stabs at the opening of "Stairway to Heaven” and a disorganised "My Generation,” both of which are preceded by a rudimentary harmonica solo by leader Mike Peters. That said, there are also many moments of excellence here thanks to the band’s infectious energy and fierce commitment to connecting with their adoring audience. (Shakedown)