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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Knopfler
Like another reviewer on here, I only bought this album because of stumbling on the classic Knopfler guitar signature on "Boom, Like That" when radio channel surfing. The album in its entirity does not dissapoint. On first listen, the sound and feel of the album did not become immediately clear, but, on second listen I suddenly realised that it is unlikely I will hear a...
Published on 3 Mar 2005 by samburrows

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Laid back
Firstly I would like to state that I have followed (and been a great fan of)the work of Mark Knopfler since Dire Straits in the early Eighties. Although I realise it is perhaps unfair to compare Dire Straits then (different time time & place etc)to Mark's musical output now, comparions are ultimately unavoidable. Speaking for myself it was the fantastic guitar work...
Published on 21 Jun 2006 by Taz


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Knopfler, 3 Mar 2005
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
Like another reviewer on here, I only bought this album because of stumbling on the classic Knopfler guitar signature on "Boom, Like That" when radio channel surfing. The album in its entirity does not dissapoint. On first listen, the sound and feel of the album did not become immediately clear, but, on second listen I suddenly realised that it is unlikely I will hear a better album in 2005.
First of all, the album is majestically produced. Every chord and note played is perfect, they emphasise the lyrics and dance around the subject with a penache that only Knopfler can produce.
Of more note are the brilliantly satirical and often witty storytelling achieved by Knopfler's lyrics. "Boom, Like That" is a song which I cannot stop going back to over and over again. The subject of Ray Kroc's somewhat unscrupulous success with the early McDonalds restaurants is brilliantly depicted by the track. Other tracks of note include the oft-graphic but very entertaining "Don't Crash the Ambulance" which finishes off the album with aplomb.
This is not a Dire Straits stlye collection of music. Despite being relatively young, my Dad introduced me to the wonderful World of Dire Straits. This is equally brilliant, but totally different.
I cannot reccommend this album highly enough - if at first you don't like it, just put it on again and listen carefully. You cannot fail to be rewarded for just listening.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure from beginning to end, 28 Oct 2004
By 
R. Middleton "pbobmagic" (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
If you simply hear snippets of the album then you may wonder what I'm talking about and might think twice about buying but you really should have faith. This is not the same kind of music he was making in the early days of the Straits, it is in many ways a mix of On Every Street's more poignant songs (the title track especially) and his last two solo albums. It is stunning, from the heartfelt and touching 5.15am (one of my all time favourites and a must hear for people who like Sailing to Philadelphia) to the quirky final track with its hidden meanings everyone will find something to relate to.
From a musical point of view the playing is beyond reproach and the production be it CD or SACD is superb. Mark's guitar playing is what has always got the plaudits and the magazines writing but it is the lyrics which stand out to fans and this album only serves to strengthen this adding to his catalogue of sharp, witty story telling.
If your have grown up with Mark's music and have developed your taste as he has experimented and grown musically then you will love this album. Don't expect a Brother's in Arms 2 or Money for Nothing all over again this is an album from an artist who is confident and able to change musical styles in a way most artists would never even be able to think of doing. If you are an MK fan then this is a must buy, if you liked Sailing to Philadelpia and are looking to get more into his music or simply want to buy your first album by one of the most talented and respected artists of our time then this is a great place to start.
A number of artists who have been going as long as Mark has at the fore front of their respective genre's have resorted to putting out the same type of album again and again or have tryed to change musical styles only to lose the aspects that made them popular in the first place. Mark has constantly produced top class music in different styles and the breadth of his musical knowledge has been made even greater with the completion of this album. Lyrically and musically fresh while sticking to his strengths what more can I say.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant like that, 6 Nov 2004
By 
This review is from: Shangri-La [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
Whether or not you will like Knopfler's latest album, really depends on what you expect from him. If you want more Dire Straits, more pop rock and more ten minute solos, Mark's solo albums, since Golden Heart, have probably disappointed you.
If you are willing to follow the direction he has chosen now, however, this album is simply billiant. A real grower. Mark has left the stadiums behind, the 'ego' that wants more success, and since he has gone solo, he has done nothing but exploring the roots of his music and putting that into great songs. What an exciting journey that is.
"Shangri-La" is brilliant in that respect. I have never heard him and his band blend country, rock, blues, folk, bluegrass... so effortlessly. Behind every chord change, every note, every turn in every song, every line he sings, there's a landscape of music to be discovered. It happens so subtly, so sweetly, you cannot but be moved. It all sounds so direct, so easy. His guitar playing works in exactly the same way: subtle and perfect for the music he is making now. There's so much more behind the notes.
Take "Back to Tupelo" for example. In the first verses, Mark is almost hollering on one chord, played so sweet, you almost don't notice it, lamenting the direction Elvis has chosen. Then the others join, soft keyboards, drums and bass, giving it a bittersweet country twist, at the chorus, ther's that breathtaking 7th-chord, which reminds us of real blues, echoing the lyrics of the songs, singing about the Mississippi Elvis has forgotten. I don't know know many musicians who accomplish that kind of songwriting.

So follow Mark and his band on this musical journey, let them take you to Philadelphia and back again. You won't be disappointed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilled but not cold, 7 Nov 2004
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
Not owning any Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler albums (just the "Sultans of Swing" 45), I nonetheless bought this on the strength of vaguely hearing "Boom Like That" in a café, without any knowledge that the album even existed. This has turned out to be a very wise decision, as I haven't stopped listening to it since and seem to be urging everyone to buy it.
The theme of the album appears to be gambling (in its widest sense) and the pursuit of the American Dream, even when it is happening in the unglamorous north of England. As other reviewers have pointed out, the songs are very understated but the mastery that Knopfler demonstrates is that he always seems to know exactly which note to play - his phrasing is perfect. Listen to the title track and the guitar which underlines the words in the refrain makes you want to burst into tears. It makes "Our Shangri-La" one of the best slows I have ever heard - a track to end a thousand discos. And "5:15 AM" and the "The Trawlerman's Song" are both extremely poignant in terms of their music and lyrics. The tones of the various guitars he employs are fascinating - especially the early 60s sound on several tracks.
One of the most striking things is how much Knopfler resembles other people on the various songs. You get the impression that this is deliberate experimentation (or even tribute?) rather than unconscious plagiarism. Thus, on "Our Shangri-La" you think you could be listening to Springsteen, "Song for Sonny Liston" sounds like a Dylan number (who did his own boxer homage track "Hurricane") and "The Trawlerman's Song" puts one in mind of, alarmingly, Gerry Rafferty (though infinitely better). And this not to mention the Latin American influence on two tracks, or Lonnie Donegan himself. The guitar, unsurprisingly, only ever sounds like Mark Knopfler, no matter which style he is playing.
You need a little time to appreciate this album, but if you give it the attention it deserves, it will repay you. I suspect that those who are disappointed are those who have decided what products the Knopfer mould is supposed to produce and reject anything that doesn't look as if it has come from it. I draw the line only at "All That Matters" in which sincerity does, for once, seep over into sentimentality. But that still only makes one poor track out of 14 and some of the others represent the best new music you will hear this year.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "a perfect day", 27 Jun 2005
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
Fans of Mark Knopfler are probably wondering what they've done to deserve this...trained to expect an album every 5 years or so they wait patiently for years and then three albums come (virtually) at once...
and Mark Knopfler's recent productivity hasn't been at the expense of quality... Shangri-La is his best solo work to date and some of the tracks (notably 5:15am) eclipse anything he has produced before either alone or with Dire Straits.
Where "Shangri-La" succeeds is the mellow, tuneful songs that have been crafted together on this release. It's difficult to list stand out tracks - there are too many...
This is not the "rock on" of Dire Straits a la Brothers in Arms, but an album to reward anyone prepared to give it a few plays.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing...but maybe not for everyone, 9 Nov 2004
By 
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
I used to be a huge Dire Straits fan, right up until the end, although the synth-fuelled casino-extravaganza of "On The Night" left me wishing for a more stripped down sound. When Mark Knopfler put out his first solo album, I was the first in line at the store, but I didn't like it that much. Sounded a bit "in between things", like he was trying to get Dire Straits out of his system and find a real solo voice. "Sailing to Philadelphia" was a bit irritating, but I started liking "The Ragpickers' Deam" more.
On "Shangri-La", I think Mark has really found the voice that he needed. The storytelling and lyrics are as subtle and quiet as usual, making you actually listen to what is being played. None of the melodies feel forced, and Mark and the band clearly play so well together by now. It's definitely a quiet and mellow album, but I think that's a welcome change from some of Mark's recent more country-rock tracks. Every song is meditative in its own way...perhaps it's just me, but it makes me feel all relaxed and cozy to listen to this stuff. His guitar work is increasingly minimalist, and his voice is smoother than ever. Happy music, but not bouncy. Perfect for a contemplative evening with a cup of coffee.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer class and quality, 14 Oct 2004
By 
V. Shirley "Vince Shirley" (Belper, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shangri-La [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
When reviewers (both amateur and professional) accept that MK is no longer Dire Straits, then his music will get the appreciation it deserves.
Shangri-La, the latest in a line of high quality albums is simply the most relaxed, accomplished and technically perfect of all of his music. For my money the lack of a hard rock edge and less obvious production simply shows him to be what he is. The best guitarist in world music today and a storyteller of the highest order.
The unlikely subjects to showcase his supreme abilities this time include the guy who expanded McDonalds in to what it is today (Boom, Like That), 50's legend Lonnie Donnegan (Donnegan's Gone) and boxing icom Sonny Liston (Song For Sonny Liston) amongst others.
Relaxed and sometimes cynical, the lyrics are delivered in a such a laid back, folky, rootsy, bluesy way. This simple approach belies the wonderful detail laying underneath each track.
Accomplished musicians cue up to play with him - and is it any wonder. It just proves there is no substitute for ability and class and this group of musicians have it in bucketloads
Simply a "must have" in my view.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His most accomplished album to date., 19 Oct 2004
By 
R. Middleton "pbobmagic" (Leeds) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
If you simply hear snippets of the album then you may wonder what I'm talking about and might think twice about buying but you really should have faith. This is not the same kind of music he was making in the early days of the Straits, it is in many ways a mix of On Every Street's more poignant songs (the title track especially) and his last two solo albums. It is stunning, from the heartfelt and touching 5.15am (one of my all time favourites and a must hear for people who like Sailing to Philadelphia) to the quirky final track with its hidden meanings everyone will find something to relate to.
From a musical point of view the playing is beyond reproach and the production be it CD or SACD is superb. Mark's guitar playing is what has always got the plaudits and the magazines writing but it is the lyrics which stand out to fans and this album only serves to strengthen this adding to his catalogue of sharp, witty story telling.
If your have grown up with Mark's music and have developed your taste as he has experimented and grown musically then you will love this album. Don't expect a Brother's in Arms 2 or Money for Nothing all over again this is an album from an artist who is confident and able to change musical styles in a way most artists would never even be able to think of doing. If you are an MK fan then this is a must buy, if you liked Sailing to Philadelpia and are looking to get more into his music or simply want to buy your first album by one of the most talented and respected artists of our time then this is a great place to start.
A number of artists who have been going as long as Mark has at the fore front of their respective genre's have resorted to putting out the same type of album again and again or have tryed to change musical styles only to lose the aspects that made them popular in the first place. Mark has constantly produced top class music in different styles and the breadth of his musical knowledge has been made even greater with the completion of this album. Lyrically and musically fresh while sticking to his strengths what more can I say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boom like that!, 8 May 2007
By 
This review is from: Shangri-La (Audio CD)
What a delight to see this former stadium rock hero get back to basics. His more-than-meets-the-ear songs and sober guitar style tell you the story of American music in Europe and vice-versa.

This is what you get when you combine experience (age, that is) and craftsmanship. His best solo effort to date without a doubt, in terms of sound and songwriting. Moreover, he taught me to appreciate country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wistful Americana, 14 Oct 2004
This review is from: Shangri-La [CD + DVD] (Audio CD)
This album seemed very laid-back and even slightly downbeat when I first heard it but the music (and the lyrics) have grown on me hugely.
Gone are the Knopfler's giant guitar solos and stadium-filling sweeping synths. Shangri-La is the man taking a lyrically clever and musically relaxed tour of the USA. It's a thoughtful, cosy winter-months album, and there isn't a note of out place in the rootsy conglomeration of US styles.
The album is beautifully produced but in tone it feels like Knopfler and his closest, musically-talented friends playing around a campfire as he fills the night with tuneful stories for grown-ups, sung in his gentle, smoky voice.
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