Big Country's 1995 album, Why the Long Face, was a very tough act to follow. But they succeeded brilliantly with their first full-length studio album, Driving to Damascus. This is one of their finest moments, full of trademark Big Country sounds (the guitar, the heavy beat, and Adamson's fantastic vocals). What sets this CD apart from their other releases is the strong use of melody tied together with heartbreaking stories and well-constructed arrangements. Listening to the harmony vocals melt with the guitars in "Fragile Thing," it's difficult not to be moved. Adamson has never sounded better, and the band is tighter than ever before. Hearing this album, it is hard to believe that the band was celebrating their 20-year anniversary and still sounding so fresh and excited. This is a group who have not mellowed out, but are able to structure melodic, driving songs. There are a couple of interesting points with this album. First, Ray Davies (of the Kinks) co-wrote two songs with Adamson (the brilliant "Somebody Else," and the wonderful "Devil in the Eye"). To hear these, one would never guess that there was any involvement from Davies. The songs fit for Big Country, but would be out of place on a Davies' or Kinks' album. Also, the CD appears on the Track Records label (famous for Hendrix and the Who, to name two). It seems fitting that Big Country is signed to the resurrected label -- it just fits. It is the mixture of old and new that helps Big Country form their own distinct (and brilliant) sound. This CD is highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley