Customer Review

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Nile - Frank Sinatra is alive and well and lives in Glasgow!, 25 Feb 2007
This review is from: Hats (Audio CD)
There must be a case for personally hunting down and sticking pins into strange dolls if smart detective work can discover what madman wrote the official Amazon description on "Hats". This sublime album by an elusive bunch of Scottish Minstrels is one of the best British albums of any decade and a very rare gem. What it is not is "anthemic like U2" and neither does it "compare to Simply Red and Deacon Blue". Let us for the sake of goodwill extend the milk of human kindess and hope that the author of this heinous claptrap was successful in his or her GSCE Music exam since these comparisons are laughable and "Hats" deserves a whole better than these shoddy musical "bedmates". All Blue Nile albums are essentially markers in time and the yawning gaps between their production seems to grow ever longer. Yet the sparsity of their output over the years and a host of great albums cannot hide the fact that "Hats" is the masterpiece. Granted many will feel a warm glow when passing mention is made of "Tinseltown in the rain" and especially the summer atmospherics of Heat-wave. Equally when it comes to " Peace at last" amongst its vinyl grooves are to be found superb melodrama of "Family Life" and the exhilaration of "Body and Soul" but also if truth be told a couple of duffers. The same also true of "High" although "Stay close" should be the Scottish national anthem.

On "Hats" every song is perfect in every way. No real point in singling any out. What you should do is listen to them in key settings. Memories flood back of a cold frosty evening when the "Downtown lights" was playing on the headphones on top of the Empire State building in New York as your reviewer surveyed this remarkable expanse and the world suddenly made sense. Five minutes of wonderful memory remain firmly locked down never to be displaced. "From a late night train" is that song when your on your own, the darkness has descended and you want to be alone locked away with the music. The beauty of it is a rare delicacy, with the Buchanan vocal completely heart wrenching and the mood set by an achingly lonesome piano and synths. The opener "Over the Hillside" creeps up on you and then explodes while "Lets go out tonight" more than any song captures the reality of our ordinary love affairs and heartbreak. There is only one person this reviewer knows who dislikes this album and he drives a Subaru, supports Man U and thinks James Blunt is brilliant. What greater recommendation could you have to get "Hats"?

Paul Buchanan has one of the most fragile and beautiful voices. Some will recall a live Radio 1 concert from the Blue Nile broadcast many years ago when in silence before a song an audience member shouted to him on stage "don't be nervous". Buchanan laughed quietly and with shy modesty retorted that he had State Registered Nurses waiting in the wings. Blue Nile are that type of band; you want them to succeed but not too much in case everyone likes them. And yes it is all a bit selfish and precarious and it is true that they deserve success as big as a continent but its not going to happen which is part of their tragedy and also their appeal. One day the truth will out and we will recognise what we missed but until then stop what your doing and immediately download it. That is an order.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Sep 2011 17:41:43 BDT
Congletonian says:
I was at that gig at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester back in 1990, and I went backstage and met the band afterwards. Paul was so polite and unassuming, and offered us a beer and a seat; it was like we'd popped in to see our uncle. The band was EXACTLY the same live; no drop in quality. This is one of the best albums of all time, in my opinion.

Posted on 13 Nov 2011 02:29:38 GMT
Neil Cairns says:
That line about the Man Utd fan with the Subaru is just priceless. Like you I adore this album and ... what can I say? Some people will just never get what it is about being alive on this Earth that makes it worthwhile....:) Kudos on the review but especially on that one line.

Posted on 14 May 2012 13:39:27 BDT
A Lewis says:
Hope you passed your A-Level Music exam with this.

Posted on 8 Nov 2012 22:27:23 GMT
Stevie Dal says:
This is your greatest review. EVER !.

Posted on 12 Dec 2012 23:00:37 GMT
I marked this unhelpful but only because I have lovewd this record since I bought it on the day it was released. Virgin Megastore, Union Street, Glasgow. Bumped into my matye Steven McK as I picked it up. That's how memorable this record and band is. 'Saturday Night' is the one for me. Celtic fan, what can I say :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Dec 2012 08:52:36 GMT
Red on Black says:
So why mark it unhelpful?

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 18:22:38 BDT
I'd just like to say that I'm a Man United fan (living in Manchester) and I've loved it since the day I first heard the first 808 kick of 'Over The Hillside'. I was at the Free Trade Hall gig too.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Jun 2013 21:03:52 BDT
Red on Black says:
Jeffrey I know it was a cheap shot but you kinda know what I mean? In any case us Cardiff supporters look forward to giving you a warm welcome next season. Regards Rob
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Red on Black
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