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A great snapshot of the turbulent 80's troubles and a musical tour de force, thank God for that magazine article!
on 8 March 2016
I found this album through an article interviewing James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers, and it asked what his '10 Favourite Albums Ever,' were, so I decided to check this out. I confess, I had heard precisely zilch about Big Country before this, despite them being a pretty big deal in the 80's and are still touring today (thanks Wikipedia!)! I have since checked out their other albums, but this one towers above the rest in my opinion.
From what I gather from JDB's review (and the lyric book) this album, lyrically, is concerned with one of the most tumultuous periods in 'British' history - the dystopian Margaret Thatcher era, the closure of the titular Steel towns (and other industries) and the devastating effect it had on their local communities and its people, their relationships, livelihood, dreams, employment and so on.
Musically, I was pleasantly surprised how memorable and pretty heavy some of the riffs were! They sound at times like a more punky Thin Lizzy, complete with their trademark vocal and guitar harmonies, but with a distinctive The Edge from U2 vibe about their sound in terms of their heavy use of delay (who influenced who? I have no idea who came first!?) and also a lot of melody that's Celtic in nature.
Opener 'Flame Of The West,' is one of the all time best album opening tracks with its upbeat tempo, clever lyrics, memorable hooks and excellent guitar work, the title track is probably the best use of distorted delay guitar tones I've ever heard - rhythm-wise at least - and some great vocal melodies and epic chorus.' 'East Of Eden,' sounds like the best 80's rock hit that never was, and the heartfelt balladry of 'Come Back To Me' really tugs at the heart strings.
The rhythm section of the drummer and bassist also deserve a lot of credit as they're very tight and deliver fantastic canvases for the vocals and guitar to impose themselves on.
This Deluxe Edition features 'Radio Edit' version of some of the songs on the album and other rarities that will no doubt keep die hard fans happy, but to me its just an added extra really.
If you're a fan of all things rock, punk and 80's - you need this album in your life!