Big Country - The Crossing (Deluxe Edition)
Deluxe special edition reissues, love them or hate them, are here to stay. The latest arrival is this double discer of Big Country’s hugely successful 1983 debut album that is released to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary and coincides with their latest tour with The Alarm’s Mike Peters taking the place of the sadly departed Stuart Adamson.
Let’s make things clear, The Crossing is fantastic; from the anthemic ‘In a Big Country’ and ‘Fields of Fire’ through the epic storytelling of ‘Lost Patrol’ and ‘The Storm’, this an album with no fluff, no filler, just killer pop-rock brilliance that is as lively and thrilling as the day it was released. The sublime strains of ‘Porrohman’ is the perfect finale, but as is the way with these types of re-issues some extra tracks are plonked on the end of the disc, with absolutely no regard to the effect it will have on the whole listening experience. A couple of these are decent enough tunes: the astutely angular ‘Angle Park’ and stirring ‘Heart and Soul’ originally appeared on the cassette version of the album, but the hideous dirge of ‘Balcony’, the plinky, plonky nonsense of ‘Flag of Nations’ and the pitifully weedy ‘The Crossing’ rob the main course of a little of its power.
The second disc, loaded as it is with demos, remixes and radio performances, is an occasionally interesting insight into the gestation of the classic Big Country sound, but is unlikely to be revisited by anyone except the most fanatical of fans and for most is likely to languish unloved in its case.
If you do not own The Crossing then this is a cheap enough way to rectify that oversight but, if you do, there really is no point in upgrading to this frustrating ‘Deluxe’ Edition.