The Absolute Game

The Absolute Game

If The MC5 unconsciously simulated the sound of Detroit assembly lines, then The Skids instinctively mined the sound of the Scottish working pit. Both guitarist Stuart Adamson (future Big Country leader) and singer Richard Jobson (later a U.K. TV presenter and filmmaker) grew up in coal-mining families in Fife, Scotland. The band's big-guitar tunes had undercurrents of Gaelic folk (especially in the guitar and vocal melodies). Jobson took much flak for trivial pursuits and affected obsessions with WWII military behavior and tragic Greek poets: masculine manias that likely ensured the band would never see U2-like fame. But this Mick Glossop–produced album is wonder for its mix of beauty and power (“A Women in Winter,” “Goodbye Civilian”), anthemic green (“Hurry on Boys,” “Circus Games”) and head-scratching pop wonderment (“The Children Saw the Shame”). The Skids were often as musically persuasive as they were fist-jackingly powerful, and it’s hard to believe they never made it beyond minor-player status in U.K. rock history.

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