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Knopfler and the boys follow-up with another great 9-song collection,
This review is from: Communique (Remastered) (MP3 Download)
Following on from the success of their 1978 London-recorded debut and a busy year touring, Dire Straits' second album was recorded in December of the same year at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas and released in June 1979.
With the same line-up as the eponymously-titled first album, `Communique' has a similar feel with clean arrangements again dominated by Mark Knopfler's song writing and laconic slice-of-life lyrics, his distinctive vocal delivery alternating with attention-grabbing and note-perfect runs on his Fender Strat.
As with the debut album `Communique' contains nine songs, kicking off with `Once Upon a Time in the West' which has a slow, funky rhythm and Dylanesque storyline themed (for the first time) on an American town, and doubtless targeted at the band's emerging young American audience. `Where do you think you're going?' is (almost uniquely in the Mark Knopfler songbook) a deeply personal minor-key piece about relationship break-up sung in the first person, with poignant lyrics and great musical dynamics. Other highlights are `Lady Writer' which became a successful single, `Angel of Mercy' with some great blues guitar work and the enigmatic `Portobello Belle', a perennial favourite and one of DS' best-ever songs.
This album received minor criticism for being `too much like the first album' and, paradoxically, being `boring with few good songs'. I beg to differ: though similar in theme, this collection is more mature and reflective than the debut, the song writing and arrangements interesting and varied, and its production values are even better. It's a bit `quieter' overall, but not much. `Communique' stands up to the years well, is a classic album in every sense and hasn't aged a day.