Album review: BIG COUNTRY – The Journey




Cherry Red (Released 15th April)

This marks a major step in Big Country’s history as it is the first studio album not to feature the late Stuart Adamson and the recording debut of the Alarm’s Mike Peters (who wrote nearly all the lyrics on this album).

They have been touring with much success with Mike Peters fronting the band, although this is the test to see if they can carry the band’s over to a new era. There is also a line-up change with original bass player Tony Butler who retired last year and his replacement is ex-Simple Minds bassist Derek Forbes, who joins the aforementioned Peters, original members Bruce Watson and Mark Brzezicki and Bruce’s son Jamie to complete the line-up.

Having Mike Peters singing and writing the lyrics will naturally lead to some Alarm comparisons, none more so than on the raucous opening song ‘In A Broken Promise Land’, which really does sound like Big Country and the Alarm jamming together.

The closing ‘Hail And Farewell’ is a slow burning anthem, again recalling the Alarm (by way of Runrig!) and I think this could well become a live favourite. Mike Peters has lost none of his passion and vocal power down the years and backed by the fine musicians that make up the rest of the band you know it is going to be an enjoyable album.

The classic Big Country guitar sound is all present and correct on the stirring ‘Another Country’, a song that allows Bruce Watson’s guitar playing a chance to shine. ‘The Journey’ has already been played live and released as a single and shows how the band have successfully kept the things that made the band a hit in the first place (strong athemic choruses, powerful guitars, strong and personal lyrics) and added in some newer sounds.

They have certainly won this fan over, although I love both Big Country and the Alarm. I don’t think at this stage in their career they will be bringing in many new fans but they have certainly produced an album that will please and keep their large, loyal fan base happy.


Jason Ritchie

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