Let's get to the point right away - this 2nd album by Dire Straits is not better than their debut. Particularly, because the songs are not so good. But yet it calmly flows along just fine, provides a handful of beautiful melodies, a striking guitar playing by Mark Knopfler, and all in all proves to be a 5 star record.
The sound of this album is made with 2 major influences. One, is that the band clearly wanted to make an album in the vein of their first. It gets very obvious in a number of songs, which sound like a rehash of songs from "Dire Straits" with different lyrics. This album starts with almost the same lone guitar licks, and ends in the same style with very calm and relaxed song ("Lions" in the debut and "Follow Me Home" here). "Where Do You Think You're Going?" is not without a taste of "Six Blade Knife". "Lady Writer" borrows a lot from "Sultans of Swing". But what the album lacks in originality, it gains back in soul with which this songs are performed. Another influence I'm talking of is Hawaiian. This album was recorded in the studio in Hawaii, and it shows in positive relaxed feeling to some songs, like "Communique", "Angel of Mercy", and gets to the most notable form in "Follow Me Home".
Along with this tropical feeling, the band introduced keyboards to their sound, that first can be heard in "Where Do You Think You're Going?". History proved it was a step in the right direction.
While this record doesn't hold your attention like "Dire Straits" does, I tend to judge it positively, because typically for Mark, it's done very tastefully. My favorite songs here are "News", "Where Do You Think You're Going?", "Lady Writer" and "Single-Handed Sailor". This album will be a good addition to any blues-rock fan collection. And Mark Knopfler's guitar playing is incredible, like it always was.