Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Big Country

  • The Crossing [Mercury, 1983] B
  • Peace in Our Time [Reprise, 1988] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Crossing [Mercury, 1983]
With its bagpipe guitars and Celtic blues lines, Stuart Adamson's Skids-U2 hybrid avoids any hint of rock purism. Although "Chance" is the only fully realized song here, the rest sound good from a distance. But I wish Adamson didn't sing like Colonel Bryan Bowie and, even worse, write like Bishop Kahlil Masefield. Regaled with martial rhythms, I always feel safer knowing exactly what the war's about. B

Peace in Our Time [Reprise, 1988]
Five years ago these fools parlayed a video, some guitar harmonics, and the oppression of Scotland into comparisons with future band-of-the-decade titleholders U2. A stiff, an EP, and a negotiation later, they're ready to settle for something simple in platinum on a rival label. Social consciousness or no ("Time for Leaving" actually explains why a U.K. laborer is emigrating), they're just pros with pretensions this time around. Which suits the rival label just fine. C

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]