Rhythm & Views 

Alarm Clocks

Arena rock has-beens like Styx, Journey and Great White reform to cash in on their pathetic VH1 resurrections and by feeding off dismal AM radio hits from 20 to 30 years ago. Dissimilarly, '60s garage-punk unknowns like the Alarm Clocks reunite solely because of a mutual passion for playing the unpretentious, sloppy and savage music of their youth.

Before bands like Rocket From the Tombs, the Dead Boys and the Cramps put Cleveland on the punk-rock map in the mid-'70s, teenage badasses like the Alarm Clocks, who formed in 1965, were wrecking high school dance parties and college mixers with a raging tonic of raw garage blues and sinful R&B covers that had parents frantically searching for their nubile daughters and screaming sexual sacrilege.

Corralled last spring back to a gadget-free basement (similar to where they were they were initially birthed), the group generated 14 stomping cuts--a dozen young, loud and snotty originals, inked by singer-bassist Mike Pierce, the mastermind behind the immortal '66 underground classic "No Reason to Complain," and two hard-hitting, albeit predictable, covers ("Like a Rolling Stone" and "I'm a Man"). Though now a bit paunchy and balding, the still youthful-sounding Pierce sneers lyrics like he never grew up.

Worthy highlights include fresh adolescent-in-heat anthems like "Marie" and "Nobody but You" and the infectiously toxic "Feelin' Fine," fueled by the gutter-rat rhythm guitar of Bruce Boehm and the fuzz-saturated leads of newcomer Tom Fallon. If you wanna actually hear a '60s band come back from the grave, then wake up to the rejuvenated Alarm Clocks.

More by Ron Bally


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