To mark the 30th anniversary of The Alarm's second album Strength, the entire album has been rearranged and rerecorded by Mike Peters to create 'Strength (30th Anniversary)'.
'I always felt that song for song, word for word, 'Strength' was The Alarm's best album of the 1980's and had layers of hidden qualities that were never truly revealed or properly explored back in those heady days", says Peters.
Following last year's release of the 30th anniversary edition of The Alarm's debut album Declaration, the reworked songs on Strength (30th Anniversary) have shed their skin to live again for new times as the result of experience gained. "There are a lot of stories on Strength, many of them autobiographical or written from personal experience," continues Peters, "I still see the people I wrote about in the songs and live on the same streets affected by the political landscape documented in the original telling and I felt that they deserved an updating so that they could tell of challenges met and of relationships strengthened by time."
To conceive the album for 2015, Mike Peters was aided by the original production notes and lyric book he had first started writing in as far back as 1984 when the band went to New York to work with uber-producer Jimmy Iovine (Credits include John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2, Patti Smith etc.). "It was very challenging to work with Iovine, whom I had met while playing with U2 at Red Rocks during the 'Under A Blood Red Sky' concert in 1983", recalls Peters. "Although I was disappointed we never made the album with Jimmy due to record company politics, with the benefit of hindsight, and through the experience of my own musical journey, I could begin to see some of the direction Jimmy was trying to push us into. I have now taken the new 'Strength' into territories where it might have gone if we had been given the opportunity in 1985 to work with a world-class producer like Jimmy at the helm."
Strength (30th Anniversary) was recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios and has been re-examined by Mike Peters from the chords up. "The album was originally going to be called 'Absolute Reality', so I have recorded that particular song as if it was the album's title track and pushed it more towards the style of 'Knife Edge', which was an idea that Jimmy and I discussed back in 1984."
Other iconic 'Strength' era songs such as 'Deeside', 'Spirit Of '76' and 'Walk Forever By My Side' have updated lyrics. 'Deeside was always a song that went down a storm live, but Jimmy said in rehearsals that more could be made of the story telling arrangement. I think the new version strengthens the real life narrative that runs through the lyric".
Strength (30th Anniversary) presents new and old Alarm fans alike an opportunity to embrace a part of the band's history that was special to so many who still support Mike Peters and the group to this very day, and who continue to make new discoveries about the timeless qualities of the music. 'Strength is an album that has lived outside of itself musically. The themes of Love Hope and Strength have gone from being words on a page or lines in a song, to literally giving life to thousands through the charity that it gave birth to. As a musician you can only dare to dream so far but 'Strength' has gone way beyond that now and hopefully these new recordings will help to inform and continue the legacy of 'Strength' for future generations".
Mike Peters and The Alarm will perform a one-off special concert at Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre on 10th October. The concert will feature all of Mike Peters and The Alarm's greatest music backed by the symphonic grandeur of the Welsh Pops Orchestra, conducted by John Quirk. Mike will also be reunited with the Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir for anniversary performances of A New South Wales and Bells Of Rhymney, just two of the songs that first brought them together during The Alarm's polemic Change album era of 1989.
CD Track listing:
1) Spirit Of '76
3) Knife Edge
4) The Day The Ravens Left The Tower
5) Walk Forever By Your Side
7) Dawn Chorus
8) Father To Son
9) Only The Thunder
10) Last Train *[CD ONLY]
11) Absolute Reality *[Different Version on LP]
Love Hope Strength