A Mark In Time

Mark Knopfler Discussion => News Articles and Interview Transcripts => Topic started by: binone on March 21, 2018, 11:33:25 pm

Title: On Every street launching article
Post by: binone on March 21, 2018, 11:33:25 pm
Dire Straits: On Every Street
Robert Sandall, Q, October 1991

THE REASONS FOR the six-year absence are well known: Brothers In Arms – the 15-million-selling album and 250-date world tour – banished an unassuming bloke and his mates to the outer reaches of unwanted superstardom.

So now, after a prolonged working sabbatical-cum-career re-think, Mark Knopfler has reversed Dire Straits' gradual drift into cosmic respectability. The band returns with a new drummer and guitarist sounding leaner, fitter and more like their original pub-rocking selves than at any time since the eponymous debut in 1978.

Remember when people used to compare Dire Straits to J.J. Cale? Well there are several tracks on this album – the single, 'Calling Elvis', 'When It Comes To You' and, in a darker mood, 'You And Your Friend' – which could have been penned by that legendary Southern mumbler-songwriter. In fact, even when Knopfler heads off in other directions – late-night blues, Celtic folk, Nashville country, Texas boogie and '50s Tex-Mex pop and more – the feel of the presentation is Cale-ishly intimate and low-key. The epic dimensions of early '80s Straits numbers like 'Telegraph Road', the layers of synthesizery fat and the adhesively catchy hooks which spangled all the big hits from Brothers In Arms are conspicuous by their absence.

'Heavy Fuel', a jokey riff-rocker about broads and booze, might on another record have come out sounding as tidy as 'Money For Nothing'. Here, driven by Jeff Porcaro's aggressively sharp drumming, it sounds like ZZ Top in a garage. Leading from the front, Knopfler's voice has been re-instated as a ruminative, restless growl which implies melodies once more, rather than straining to sing them. The title track, a potentially pretty, Celtic-tinged ballad with a stunning, finger-picked guitar coda, particularly benefits from this rough treatment.

The addition of the Nashville pedal steel expert and former Notting Hillbilly, Paul Franklin, seems greatly to have broadened the stylistic reach of Knopfler's solos. There is a bluegrass nimbleness and rhythmic subtlety to their interplay. Even a bantamweight country complaint like 'How Long' trips along with several guitars jostling each other in hot pursuit, while a more sexually charged number such as 'You And Your Friend' smoulders suggestively beneath the altercation of acoustic arpeggios, whining slide and screaming lead lines.

The best news of all though concerns the songs. Well-crafted as ever, they also pack more of a punch than any Knopfler has previously written. In his wry, observational mode, 'My Parties' and 'Ticket To Heaven' are wittier, 'Iron Hand' (about the police treatment of striking miners at Orgreave) more poignant than before.

As in-car entertainment, 'The Bug', 'When It Comes To You' and 'Calling Elvis', tick along with unparalleled precision. As love songs, 'On Every Street' and 'Fade To Black' reach deep into areas of obsession Knopfler has only previously touched on. Clocking in at 60 minutes and lacking a single duff track, this is, by any standard, a great album.

© Robert Sandall, 1991
Title: Re: On Every street launching article
Post by: dmg on March 21, 2018, 11:49:36 pm
Thanks for that.  An interesting read.  Not a mention of the best track of all: PONO.  :o