A Flashing Blur of Stripped Down Excitement

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Seventeen were the oft-talked about but seldom-heard early incarnation of the Alarm, who only released a single in their lifespan under their numerical name. Mike Peters, Dave Sharp, Eddie McDonald, and Nigel Twist are present and accounted for, although younger and snottier on these demos. In fact, the CD's title, Flashing Blur of Stripped Down Excitement, came from a review of the band live. Initially classified as a mod band, these 14 recordings show that the band were ready for wider acceptance had they continued in this direction. Styling themselves after the Who, the Jam, and the Kinks, the songs are short, sweet, and filled with hooks. "Street Of A Thousand Faces," "Talking About The Weekend," and the single "Don't Let Go" would have given the Chords and the Boys a run for their money, and would appeal to fans of both bands. One minor mistake does happen halfway through the disc, though: a Beatles cover. Not many bands have the gall to perform Beatles' covers live, let alone record them, but Seventeen do "Please Please Me," and seem to regret it about 20 seconds in. Apart from that, though, the songs are top-notch, and the performance is rough and rockin'. No track here ever ended up in the Alarm's repertoire, which means that these guys were prolific and confident enough to ditch one style and reinvent themselves with a whole new look, sound, name, and attitude. Certainly, this will appeal to Alarm fans, but also to fans of mod, power pop and new wave.

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