|1. Once Upon a Time in the West|
|3. Where Do You Think You're Going|
|5. Lady Writer|
|6. Angel of Mercy|
|7. Portobello Belle|
|8. Single Headed Sailor|
|9. Follow Me Home|
"Once Upon a Time in the West" is also a good tune with a loping Reggae-like beat, but I prefer the live version on "Alchemy" to this studio version. As a whole, "Communique" is a bit too laid back and unexciting to get a top rating--but I could listen to "Portobello Belle" all day long.
All nine songs, whilst not among the very best or most famous of their work are very appealing and there are no duds here. Knopfler's story-telling provides an interesting scenario throughout. The recording location is powerful as well. Its a more laid-back sound and introduces keyboards which their first album did not have. 'Once Upon A Time in the West' features a reggae beat which the band rarely used.
Perhaps if they had a major hit single or radio faviourite from this one it would have performed better. 'Lady Writer' is most likely to have been released as a single. 'Single Handed Sailor' is another strong track from the album. It then gives way to the crashing of the waves which open the closing 'Follow Me Home' which is flawless.
All in all a solid effort from the group before they made it big, released at a time when punk and disco dominated the headlines. Almost 25 years later and this album - as is their debut album - is still a sound for all time.
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.