‘Forwards’ by The Alarm – Single Rating: 4/5 ★★★☆☆
The Alarm are probably Wales third biggest rock export behind The Stereophonics and The Manic Street Preachers. Worldwide, they have sold over six million records since they formed originally as a post-punk act in 1981, and have five UK top 40 singles, as well as five UK top five albums (that’s a lot of fives) to their name.
Lead singer and main songwriter Mike Peters has struggled immensely with illness over the last few years, so it’s great to see them back with new material. ‘Forwards’ is their first single off their new album (also entitled ‘Forwards’) released on June 2nd. It’s the band’s first new album since 2021.
‘Forwards’ begins with a great bit of pre-intro piano, followed by two anthemic acoustic guitar chords high in the mix. Soldier style drumming backs up the lead guitar line which is also wonderfully catchy and reminds this writer of the Glasvegas track ‘Euphoria Take My Hand’. That isn’t a bad thing I promise you.
Mike Peters vocals have a hint of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen about them, which is nice – but the best element of ‘Forwards’ are the lyrics. They are honest, reflective, and open. Just good solid writing backed up by equally strong ‘arena rock’ musicianship.
Peters wrote most of this album during a bout of pneumonia and a leukaemia relapse. Unbelievable really, and no surprise that the lyrics to ‘Forwards’ resonate here. He states of the song writing process for this track. ‘I literally took my guitar into hospital with me. I was on the ward for such a long time, and I started writing these songs in between IV sessions. The first people to hear the music were the very people who were trying to keep me alive’.
Very powerful stuff indeed. For fans of The Alarm, ‘Forwards’ will no doubt become a live favourite when the band tour the UK across late May and early June. A welcome return indeed.
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