The Alarm were one of the better rock bands to come out of Britain in the '80s. Although they were on the cusp of stardom on many occassions, they toured with Bob Dylan and had a few minor chart hits, they never quite made it in America. They were often called a poor man's U2, and although Mike Peters' voice was similar to Bono's, early on they had a distinct sound with their anthemic background vocals and their heavy ringing guitar sound.
The anthemic "The Road" and the somber "Unsafe Building" are the two obligatory new tracks which accompany most best-of packages. After these tracks, the album is largely chronological and shows how the band updated their sound throughout their career. The tracks "The Stand", "Sixty-Eight Guns", "Where You Were Hiding.." and the closing tracks "Marching On" and "Blaze Of Glory" are all great anthems from their early days. "Absolute Reality", "Strength", and the epic "Spirit of '76" showed the band sharpening their songwriting skills while staying true to their roots. "Rain In The Summertime" was obviously an attempt at the mainstream with its updated production and its smoother vocals and harmonies. "Sold Me Down The River" from 1989's Change album combined their guitar rock with a synthesized beat. Despite the changes in their sound, most of the tracks here work well although the earlier material such as "Spirit of '76", "Strength", and "Sixty-Eight Guns" are the strongest tracks here. They also do a great job with their version of "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." It's also recommended over their other best-of album The Best of The Alarm & Mike Peters since this is a stronger collection and is more chronological. A great compilation of a band who until their televised reunion had been largely forgotten. Highly recommended.