Though long considered by critics one of the daggiest groups of all time, Dire Straits produced a kind of post-Dylan soft-cock-rock that is still uniquely their own. (I suspect the tennis sweatbands had as much to do with that cynical designation, than just Mark Knopfler’s proclivity for solos). Despite the success of their first single, “Sultans of Swing”, I always felt they were more a mood band than a chart-storming hit machine. Almost prog-esque in some songs (“Telegraph Road”/”Private Investigations”), it’s not surprising they were embraced by the same audience as admirers of late 70s Pink Floyd. Sure, they made some overblown, over-extended guitar-driven songs that can seem over-indulgent and a few hours too long for most modern listeners. And I’m sure their audience was/is 99% white males. But they carved out a corner of the commercial music world for themselves with some great guitar work and top-notch production that was clean and smooth and hard to hate, completely. And I’m not afraid to admit that I still have a soft spot for the Knopf-meister and his bouncy white-sneaker brigade. And for my money, Communique is one of their best. Not as HUGE as Brothers In Arms or Love Over Gold, songs like “News”, “Where Do You Think You’re Going?” and “Lady Writer” enable Communique to stand as a totem for the bands’ charm in a more subtle way. And I hold that “Once Upon A Time In The West” deserves some major reassessment as one of the great reggae infused rockers of all time. We can’t let The Police get all the white-reggae glory. Dig it.
~ DECOY SPOON