Saturday, December 1, 2018


Knopfler's managed to be about as low-key a superstar as possible, while still releasing new albums at steady rate. The big knock is that his post Dire Straits material is too laid-back, but the records are always rich and well-crafted. And the guy can tell a story; he always has fresh ideas and interesting tales, full of character studies. Then there's the always-fine guitar work.

This new one includes all those specialties, and a few new tricks.  Jammed at over 70 minutes (if you get the 16-track deluxe version), Knopfler sounds like he's having lots of fun moving back and forth between styles, plus has hit a very productive songwriting patch. There's the jazzy R'n'B of Rear View Mirror, an organ number that feels like Georgie Fame. Trapper Man is a catchy opener with lots of drums and a couple of his classic guitar solos. And Back On The Dance Floor is a standout, with an irresistible groove, telling the tale of getting the gang back together, but you're not sure if its a band or a bunch of bank robbers.

It all sounds great, has a good flow of uptempo cuts and his moody ballads, and has you glued to every word. These are among the best story-songs Knopfler has written, of small lives made glorious, reflective moments and universal truths, of people on the move. There's even a rare autobiographical number, looking back at the early days of Dire Straits, pre-fame. The album's up a notch on all counts, and it's one to play for Dire Straits fans to show them Knopfler's still got it going.

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