The Sunshine Underground Raise the Alarm review
The Sunshine Underground’s 2006 album Raise the Alarm is probably the most under-appreciated album of recent years. The Northerner’s indie rock punk funk vibes crash throughout the entire record, but it isn’t until the fifth song that it really breaks.
Don’t get me wrong, “Wake Up”, “Put You In Your Place”, “Dead Scene” and “The Way It Is” aren’t disappointing, it’s just that it’s only when “Commercial Breakdown” fuzzes up the wavelengths that you know you’re listening to something class, and maybe that’s one of the reasons the band has never really lived up to its massive potential.
Craig Wellington shouts and screams his way through the lyrics, biting them out tunefully throughout “Commercial Breakdown”. Then comes the majestic resonance of “Somebody’s Always Getting In Your Way”, followed by the brilliant “Borders”. The album closes with a double header starting out with the cowbell induced title track “Raise The Alarm” which eventually gives way to the hidden track “Climbing Up The Walls”.
And yet, in spite of a wealth of stunning songs, I have only ever heard their music played on th’radio a couple of times. Admittedly, each time I got very exited and tried to tell everyone around how ace the song was, but in my opinion the band doesn’t get the recognition I think they deserve and I think I might know why.
After listening to Raise the Alarm I went to see them live at Bristol with some friends. One of which, we’ll call her Helen (it’s her name) had also heard of the band and we were both looking forward to the gig. But while I had a class time, Helen was less than impressed. It turns out the band were too chavvy looking, so no matter how good the songs were, they were never going to get Helen’s seal of approval. Maybe The Sunshine Underground would have been much more loved if only they’d donned skinny jeans, Converse Allstars and had long hair instead of the short cropped ginger that I could see from where I was standing. Is not looking the part really a valid reason for not liking a band? I don’t think so, but fook it, maybe one day they’ll read this, change their clobba and get played on the radio, so that XFM can stop boomming the likes of Mumford And Sons and their banjo ball ache.
Raise the Alarm, The Sunshine Underground review: 4/5