Big Country – The Journey

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Review by Brian McGowan

Cherry Red Records

There can be no doubt that the late, great Stuart Adamson believed in the cathartic effect of rock’n’roll. In music, his tormented soul found artistic expression, shaping and sharpening his undoubted emotional baggage into impassioned, weighty, cutting edge anthems. Ten million albums sold, with The Crossing, Steeltown (a personal favourite) and The Seer all carving a sizeable niche in the annals of rock history. Who could’ve stepped into those shoes? Indeed, who would’ve wanted to?

In his post BC years, Adamson gave The Alarm’s Mike Peters his personal endorsement. First came live performances of the reformed band, and now a full blown studio album. And the Celtic connection has worked a treat. With The Journey, the Peters fronted band clearly has Adamson’s swashbuckling, tortured spirit hard wired into its psyche, paying tribute to the man on sombre, uplifting songs like ‘Hurt’ and ‘Hail And Farewell‘, without being handicapped by reverential awe.

Throughout the album there are several crossover moments when other Celtic roots bands like U2 (Winter Fire), Simple Minds (Angels & Promises) and naturally, The Alarm (In A Broken Promise Land) will come to mind, but one listen to Bruce Watson’s reborn guitar skirl on ‘The Journey’ and Mark Brzezicki’s tribal rhythms on ‘Home Of The Brave’ will stir the blood and quicken the pulse once again.

Successfully replacing a band’s vocalist is always the most difficult of feats – arguably, the singer’s voice defines the band. Mike Peters is clearly an inspired choice and in turn, he has revitalised a band in mourning too long.

Big Country - The Journey7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. In A Broken Promise Land
  2. The Journey
  3. After The Flood
  4. Home Of The Brave
  5. Angels & Promises
  6. Strong (All Through This Land)
  7. Last Ship Sails
  8. Another Country
  9. Return
  10. Winter Fire
  11. Hail & Farewell