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Make-up and a bad wig...
on 26 July 2006
Making Movies, the ORIGINAL album, is, as many other reviewers have commented, a much underrated classic. I could bang on for hours about the superb lyrical quality, the rough simplicity, and the sheer brilliance that just oozes from every note, but others have done that.
This review is about the current CD (1996). I wouldn't normally bother, but ten years should be ample time for Vertigo to have come to their senses and done something about it.
So what's the problem with this? Well, if you want that classic late-night-empty-ballpark sound, buy "Love over Gold" crack open a really decent Remy (ice cubes if you really must, personally I wouldn't), turn the lights down and the volume to eleven. Enjoy. If, however, you want something that sounds like it was given to the teaboy to play with as his first mix, buy this.
I can't emphasize just how much this isn't the original Making Movies. It once had a wonderful feel of intimacy about it. On here it's, well, gone. Imagine seeing an old friend after a while and discovering they've taken to wearing makeup and a bad wig. You know the real person is under there, somewhere, but you just can't get the garishness out of your mind.
So now I've picked up the sleeve, and found out that the truly great Bob Ludwig is the guilty party. I'm somewhat shocked by this, but I have to ask Bob, why? You know what you're doing, heck, you must be a multi millionaire by now and I just record the occasional band for fun. It's not my name on any number of classic albums of the last thirty years, it's yours.
But I'm not deaf, and neither are you, so why on earth didn't you just line up on the tone and leave the faders alone and the outboard gear just out?
It's got compressor pumping on Skateaway, Tunnel of Love has caved-in, and if Juliet had any sense, she'd have thrown a bucket over this Romeo. The essence has gone. It simply isn't the Dire Straits of the time. The balance of the mix has been changed, heavily re-eq'd and reverb's been added in a way that can only be described as tacky.
OK I'll shut up now. The MP3 generation probably won't notice, but for those of us who care, this should NOT be the Dire Straits handed down to posterity.
My CD copy of the original was nicked (stolen) some years back, and I thought this might be a replacement. It really isn't. I strongly recommend you check out your local library or an Amazon secondhand record shop instead. Otherwise, if you're under 30 and own an iPod, you might never really hear what Dire Straits was all about.