From 1985, The Alarm’s Strength is their second LP. I’m pretty sure this is one that shot them to about the highest they ever got in the US. I seem to remember joining The Alarm’s party around this time, when I first heard “Strength” and thinking they were pretty terrific. Though, by this time, it’s starting to become really hard to deny the comparisons to some other bands of the era.
Between “Strength” and the “Spirit of ’76,” the two hits are big, powerhouse songs. There are others, like “Knife Edge” and “Absolute Reality,” my personal favorite from this album, hiding in the corners.
Here we are, though. The songs here are solid, if a little tired-seeming, throughout. I never thought Mike Peters was the best lyricist the world has ever known, but 30 years of aging have really made some of those weak lyrics seem comical. If you can get past the words, and just listen to the music — and I like to think I usually can — this is pretty okay album, but it’ll never shake the fact that it’s dripping with ’80s-ness, any more than The Breakfast Club will. It’s earnest, and it’s dense, but it’s not a bad way to spend 45 minutes. I really liked going back to it, though. It’s hard to deny it’s a really well-done album.