2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Seer Saw A Inevitable And Thankful Return To Class Form,
This review is from: The Seer (Audio CD)
Hey hey! After the dreadfully dull and musically derailed rush-job of a 2nd album following Big Country's cracking cool debut, we were frantic but worry not. Here the spirit of life looms large-the subject matter isn't so deep it become dense and closed off to all but the creator-one of the ineffectual 'Steeltown's' many problems, but atmosphere and energy intertwine perfectly on this.
Brilliant rebellious rocker 'Look Away' starts the album off in fine form-an ingenious story told swiftly with a desperately sad pay-off intriguingly balancing the lively guitar-work. The title track follows and is a spectacular apocalyptic tale of a future that could well mirror a war-torn past and guest star Kate Bush interacts with Stuart to spellbinding effect. Surprise single 'The Teacher' is wrapped in mystery and atmosphere, but upbeat too, and it makes a much better single than the almost cheesy 'spread the loveness around' of 'One Great Thing'-the least enticing thing here but still passable enough. More longing and regret pour through parts of many other songs here-'Eiledon', 'Rememberance Day' and the lovely 'Hold The Heart' that nails the soft-torn ballad in exactly the right way that was attempted two years before to incosequential effect on 'Steeltown'. It is probably this album which could lay claim to being their best 80s one-but rest assured-by 1990 they would change direction so swiftly and brilliantly that many people still have trouble coming to terms with it!
People! And they say they don't want repetition. When they get change they don't want THAT either. I think the worst thing in music is to repeat yourself and Stu with his intense military interest and bagpipe march preferences was guilty of that in the 80s to an extent. But I would urge anyone to get those 90s CDs-his last two from 1995 & 1999 walked almost all over the best 80s ones-such is their freshness, depth, relevance and insight-and yes, humour too. But do get 'The Seer'-my cassette just about hanging on so I'll be updating it soon!
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Initial post: 5 Sep 2013 10:45:57 BDT
Blimey, are you serious? The 2nd album was pure class. In my opinion Steeltown was their finest album, closely followed by their debut. This ranks 3rd, it's good but in a way they were trying to sound a little too main stream and get more radio play with popier singles. Still good mind.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Sep 2013 03:50:11 BDT
ScottPaul ScottPaul says:
Yes, damn serious, as serious as many that seem to deem an act's first few records are their finest work just cos it's their heyday. In the bright, experimental world of pop/rock in 1984, BC let themselves down dreadfully with 'Steeltown'-well certainly their mixers, and producer did. I've never known a BC album to be so bereft or sparkling songs, and most fine detail is buried down deep in the most lamentable kind of production work possible that just smothers what life they had. Tbh is it is a friggin dull record, and dull rock music is an awful thing to spend time with. I even find 'The Crossing' needs several listens before some of the album stuff starts to soak in, but 'The Seer' is an instant record, with nothing too long on it. But for me, the 90s is when Big Country REALLY pulled it togther, they opened up their sound to fresh ideas and Stuart's voice got better and his writing becoome contemporary and highly topical. Most of his best songs were done in the 90s and 'Driving To Damascus' is one of the best swansongs for anyone to bow out on.
If 'The Seer' is them going commercial, thank God, cos 'Steeltown' is about as moribund and impervious to mainstream desires as you can get, it's just bloody dull, lifeless and flat, and a lot of that is down to the dreadful production, as several others have said, but those songs aren't all they should be either, aside from the few I picked out. Mainstream is not a bad thing when it means you sound better, and if 'Steeltown' hadn't been released at the pinnacle of their arrival, it would have struggled wholesale to make the lowly positions the great three 90s ones did, which they actually did not deserve. One reviewer said the album sounded like living in a "Clydeside shipyard with all that industrial clanging and it's not somewhere I'd want to lie next to and hear much, even at wide intervals". You can take reality too far-and deaden it. Again, thank the production and overall weak songs, which is the complete opposite of what 'The Seer' gives us.
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