The above listing reflects the songs and sequence on the original LP release. The original CD issue included an extra track, "Shine On Love" and had a different running order. Subsequent CD re-issues have reflected the sequence and song selection shown above.
Writing in Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder described the album as "replete with rollicking rhythms, master-class guitar excursions and piercing lyrical apercus." He suggests that "there's nothing lighthearted about the ominous "Love in a Faithless Country," in which the logistics of love are set forth in the terms of a John Le Carré spy novel." He continues, "Richard appears to have his former partner much on his mind — and the lyrical pictures he paints are not pretty."
Critic Robert Christgau, awarding the album a B+, says of Thompson, "He writes well-crafted songs about his love life, and while most of them are pretty good, only "Fire in the Engine Room" packs the old metaphorical wallop and only "You Don't Say" sneaks in the old emotional double-take."
The album gives its name to the film Richard Thompson: Across a Crowded Room, a concert film shot at a 1985 performance at Barrymore's in Ottawa, Canada, which focuses on material from the album.