Although his solo albums have enjoyed fine reviews some people still expect Knopfler, after thirty years in the business, to sound like Dire Straits. And that's always surprised me. As much as I love classics such as `Sultans of Swing' and `Telegraph Road', those days are gone and it's nice to hear his writing explore new perspectives.
Kill to Get Crimson's general mood has Celtic tendencies, so don't be surprised if you hear the odd fiddle, flute or accordion amidst the instrumentation. But if you think that might put you off, don't - many of Knopfler's trademarks remain. Although there is no blazing `Speedway at Nazareth' rock soundtrack here, there's lots of exquisite guitar work, which, thanks to the smaller band ensemble, allows Knopfler's work to shine through with greater prominence. Dire Straits fans will relish `Punish the Monkey' and `We Can Get Wild' more than the rest of the album, however, it's the diversity of the album that impresses most.
Knopfler's writing is particularly strong with insightful, intelligent lyrics throughout that when, combined with his genial baritone voice and the right musical setting, have a quasi-novelist sensibility. Here, you'll find wonderful narratives about painting and poetry, character sketches, and even a simple love song (`True Love Will Never Fade'), that plays, as Scott Holter rightly said, `like an anthology of written works, each personification crisp in definition, every story exquisitely told'.
For those still desperately looking for more Sultans of Swing thrills, this isn't going to set their world on fire. The album's profundity is where the greatest rewards lie.