o ahead, dismiss Dire Straits. You've got a reputation to uphold, after all. You certainly can't risk your precious status on the band that produced "Money For Nothing," that slice of Eno Lite meets CorpRock that helped catapult Dastardly MTV to their Olympian peak. No no no, you want nothing to do with the Knopflers and their cronies. Best steer clear, lest you find yourself singing along to the "faggot" line of the aforementioned, or (worse yet) delving deeper into their catalog, surfacing with the melody of "Les Boys" lodged in your head (despite the vaguely homophobic lyrics). You're an indie rocker, you certainly don't have time for this sort of glossy, biased, commercial tripe. What would your friends think, if they found Dire Straits in your record bin? No good could come of the confrontation, I assure you - Dire Straits are all but banned from the Official Hipster Canon.
Now that that's settled, those of you who haven't heard Dire Straits' eponymous debut had better leave: the less you know about this album, the better. You've already tainted your coolness (minutely, granted) by even opening this page - by even reading the band name! So, if I were you, I'd save a little face and try hard to forget you ever clicked that link...
Are they gone? Good, so everyone here has either heard the album, or is unfortunate enough to own a copy? Pay attention, now, and I'll let you know how you can minimize the damage.
"Damage?!?," you may say, "Evan, you crazy fuck, how can you not recognize the genius of this album? Do you give no credit to a band that can emerge from punk-rabid late 70s London with a blues-rock materpiece?" Well of course I recognize the genius inherent, but if the music elite were to realize how truly great this album is, the underground community would dissolve into anarchy, people would see that yes, yes mainstream poprock can not only be honest, emotional, REAL, but can exist within a spehere of influences, as Mark here so keenly demonstrates with his jazz tone and blues licks (not to mention the near-reggae portions of "In The Gallery"), not separate from any true artistic lineage.
"Why then," you may wonder, "is this album largely ignored by the discerning music-listener?" And for that, I'm afraid, I have no answer. Minimalist and smokey, the albums creeps in like a fog... the smooth packaging obscures the killer songwriting (see: "Waterline," "Sultans," "West End") and many may be turned off, but the key is to slice through the cheese (and the occasional misplaced phaser) and find the true brilliance within.
By: Evan Chakroff
Published on: 2003-09-01