Sean M. | Highland, Ca. United States | 04/20/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Big Country was my favorite group for years after first hearing them in '83. They were a group I called my own, while all my friends seemed to dwell on U2, Duran Duran, or The Cure, Big Country was my fave, and pretty much stayed number one for me, until this album came out. Talk about a disappointment!!! While Big Country did take a small drop off getting a little too poppy sounding with their album "The Seer" in late '86, they also made some improvements with "The Seer" by bring back some more traditional Big Country Celtic style which kind of left them a little when they did "Steeltown." However, nothing could prepare me for this flop. Simply put, Big Country picked the wrong producer. Peter Wolf had no business producing this album, nor any of Big Country's for that matter. Even Big Counry admitted later that Peter Wolf was probably not the right guy for this project (understatement of their careers!). Nowhere is this more obvious then when you hear the songs BC produced on their own for some of their B-side songs to this album. In fact the songs on this CD - "When A Drum Beats," "The Longest Day," "Travaler," and "Stared And Crossed" were not on the origenal "Peace in Our Time" album, and were all produced by BC and recorded around the same time as the Peter Wolf produced songs. There were other songs too that were produced by BC around the same time the album "Peace In Our Time" was recorded like "Promised Land" and "Over The Border" which though different sounding, still sound much more like BC then tracks PW produced. This tells you something - that these songs that PW produced could have been good had Big Country stuck with a good producer like Steve Lillywhite. While the tracks BC produced where on the raw side, they sounded like you would generally expect BC to sound on there album following "The Seer"...different, but good, not different, and BAD! Keeping much of their signature sound, though transitionary.Big Country's great talents are totally suppressed, and the songs squandered on this album. The only song I like all the way through is "13 Valley's" and while the song "Peace in Our Time" shows flashes of greatness, it falls far short of its potential. Obviously complements of Peter Wolf!Unfortunately, this marked the down fall of Big Country, as they never fully recovered from this flop of an album, and while coming out with some good music here and there, it was always very inconsistant going into the 90's and beyond. I must blame much of this on Big Country for buying into the criticism of being a gimic band from the beginning, as many UK bands from the early 80's were acused of being, mainly by US critics (wow, what a surprise, jealous bastards!) If BC would have just became proud of there early signature sound that so many people loved them for, me included, instead of feeling guilty about it and moving away from it, they would have been a much longer lasting success, but instead they succeded in convincing themselves that they must sound like everyone else to be genuine. Unfortunately, most of the good UK groups bought into this notion, more or less, but all you have to do is look at U2 to see that you can keep your signature sound and still evolve. Why do so many groups like Big Country thing in order to evolve, and mature, you must lose your signature sound? I will never undersand this!If you are new to BC, go with "The Crossing" or "Steeltown," their two first full albums, and their best! Stay clear of "Peace In Our Time, and if you are a major BC fan, my advice for you is to REALLY stay away from this one, as it is not Big Country, but "just a shadow of the album it should be!""
A more 'conventional' sounding Big Country
Matt | 02/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album sounds a good deal less 'exotic' than The Crossing, Steeltown, and The Seer. They have indeed taken on a much more 'conventional' pop-rock sound. But this album is definitely not bad. In fact, it's pretty good. Big Country is probably one of the few bands that could make such a change without going down the toilet."
Last great album from Big Country
phoenix mantra | Manila, Philippines | 07/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I probably have worn out the vinyl grooves to this fourth Big Country album I bought way back in 1989 I think. Some people might not like this album simply because it deviates from the bagpipe-heavy sound of other great BC albums like The Crossing, Steeltown and The Seer. But groups do mature and try something new for a change. This album is it! Except for the first track, all songs are great like "Broken Heart (13 Valleys)", "From Here To Eternity", I Could Be happy Here", "In This Place" and most specially "Eveything I Need". Hearing this song sends chills down my spine with its haunting melody. Listening to these songs gives me visions of landscapes from different places around the world. Be it the Scottish highlands or visons of peacefully lying on the beach and staring at the sea. No anthemic rock choruses for this album, which is a refreshing change. This album do have some of the bagpipe sound but only sparingly and that is a welcome change from the previous albums.
Stuart's lyrics and message is as optimistic and positive as the previous albums. Maybe he should have ended Big Country with this one than fade away in the 90's. This should be BC's swan song.I don't care much about the 4 extra tracks on this CD re-issue. They are not in league with the mood and theme of the album. Just listen to the original album.Here are my favorite BC albums and my ratings from 1 to 5:
1. The Seer - 5
2. Peace In Our Time - 5
3. Steeltown - 4
4. The Crossing - 4.Buy this album before Linkin Park, Korn and Limp Bizkit take control of the major labels and delete this item in press! :-)Don't just take my word for it. If in doubt, try to listen to this album before buying at your local CD shop. Enjoy!"
Overproduced, but a solid effort
N. Kuppalli | Richmond, Va USA | 08/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a Big Country fan for many, many years. Like most, I was turned on to them with their hit single "In A Big Country". That trademark bagpipe guitar sound was just too cool. "The Crossing" remains, in my mind, their best album. They continued with this same sound over two more records and had a decent amount of success, mainly in Europe. "Peace In Our Time" offered a new producer (Peter Wolf) and a new, slick sound. This record was pretty much panned by most critics and fans, but I really like it. Yeah, maybe it is over-produced and Peter Wolf tries to make them sound like some major pop band. But, the quality of the songs....the songwriting is fantastic. Big anthems ("King Of Emotion", "Peace In Our Time"), great ballads ("Everything I Need") and catchy chorus' ("From Here To Eternity", "River Of Hope"). Newer pressings have also added the excellent instrumental "The Travellers".
Yeah, the signature sound is gone. Maybe Stuart Adamson, lead singer and main songwriter, listened to his critics too much and changed more than most fans would have liked. But, like any great band, you have to evolve. And, I think this was a stepping stone for the band, as was their next record, "No Place Like Home". Listen to U2's "Joshua Tree" and then go listen to "Achtung Baby". Their sound has totally changed. While Big Country's evolution wasn't that dramatic, they were able to hit their stride by the time they released "The Buffalo Skinners". They continued to release great records until their swan song "Driving To Damascus". If you want to hear a great Big Country record, pick up "The Crossing" or "Driving To Damascus". If you want to hear some music by a great rock band, pick up "Peace In Our Time"."