Quite a few reviewers here and elsewhere sounding pleasantly surprised to discover the unassuming Dylanesque low-key country/blues 'sound' on this, Knopfler's 7th solo record proper (excluding his many soundtracks)... but that's been the case for pretty much everything he's done post-Dire Straits, and definitely all the records since The Ragpicker's Dream have been roughly in this mould, that is, a mix of trad. British/Celtic folk and Americana, country roots, soft ballads and swinging blues. Ok, there's fewer folkie numbers in 3/4 time here than previously, and the leaning on blues structures is a fair bit heavier here... but the same Celtic stylings on this LP (e.g. on the melancholic 'Haul Away' and 'Kingdom of Gold') have been unmistakable since his debut, Golden Heart, and particularly on his last album Get Lucky. As for the Americana... well, Shari-La (my favourite of his albums) was a very easygoing, rootsy American sounding record (in the best possible sense). Anyway, the important thing is that there's been a near-total non-appearance of extended soloing and Dire Straits-style showtunes ever since he wound that band up (maybe even before if you think about On Every Street's lower-key songs) and for that reason Privateering should be considered a logical continuation for Knopfler; bluesier than before but really still just the latest in a mounting body of low-key gems from one the few truly masterly songwriters currently active, still unfairly critiqued ... but mostly by people who've not heard anything he's done except Brothers In Arms. Half a dozen listens in and Privateering already looks set to be my record of the year (depending on Dylan's latest next week). Better still, it's a double! They normally contain as much chaff as wheat but that's not the case here - clearly he's on a really prolific run and just had too many good songs for one album. Typing this listening to one example, 'Yon Two Crows', the kind of thoughtful story-song he does so well ("The dog lifts his gaze to plead/Believes the wizard has a magic stick/Leans his weight into my tweed/I give an unholy hand to lick"). Absolutely beautiful. Or how about that signature guitar line running through the middle of album opener 'Redbud Tree': sinewy, lilting and effortless strat. Unmistakably Knopfler. And that's just two of twenty songs - I could (but won't) go on. Any could be singled out for special praise. What with the whole being more than the sum of its parts... that makes for quite an album.