Saturday, 2 June 2018

Dire Straits - Communique (1979)


Released June 1979

Recorded in Nassau, Bahamas


1. Once Upon A Time In The West
2. News
3. Where Do You Think You're Going
4. Communique
5. Lady Writer
6. Angel Of Mercy
7. Portobello Belle
8. Single Handed Sailor
9. Follow Me Home

The follow up to the outstanding debut album was basically more of the same - intricate guitar work backing a laid back folk rock style vocal. It doesn’t stray far from the formula and is certainly not a bad album but for some reason I do not play it as much as either the debut or the next one, “Tunnel Of Love”. It is a competent, well-played collection of songs but with not quite the ambience of the debut, and certainly nothing as individually notable as “Sultan Of Swing”. The closest it gets is the soundalike, “Lady Writer”, which was an unsuccessful single. “Portobello Belle” is another catchy one too, with Mark Knopfler paying homage to parts of London again, and an Irish girl who he encountered there, following his “emigration” there from the North East. This track has all the atmosphere of the previous album, to be fair.

The extended rock workout of the opener, “Once Upon A Time In The West” is probably the other true standout, while “News” has an appeal particularly in its alternate speaker drum fadeout and its tricky guitar sound.

Recorded in The Bahamas, Mark Knopfler had said the location relaxed him too much and took some of the edge from his playing. Granted, he is right about it not having quite the earthy appeal of the debut, but the chilled out feeling is maybe one of the album’s strengths. 

“Where Do You Think You’re Going” probably reflects the influence of Bob Dylan, Knopfler having worked with him on “Slow Train Coming” in that same year.

It is a bit unfair to criticise this album just because it sounds like the first one. Of course it does. It’s Dire Straits. What else should it sound like?


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