To fully understand the impact Mark Knopfler made with his band Dire Straits, one have to recall the musical landscape of 1978. Punk-rock was on its peak of success. New musical directions like, new-wave, post-punk, industrial raised head. British heavy metal was gaining strength. And in the midst of such aggressive novelties Dire Straits offered very old-school music, basically a rhythm-n-blues, combined with a little country, a little art-rock, and plain old rock-n-roll. Who could have thought such an out-of-place album would be a huge success?
The key to the success is the ultimate perfection in everything, displayed in this record. Mark wrote perfect songs, the band made perfect arrangements, and they also played perfect! I won't be telling a secret, claiming that Mark Knopfler is perhaps one of ten greatest guitar-players of all time. Just listen to his calm riffing, emotional licks or solos that touch your soul, and you'll see what I mean. His playing style is instantly recognizable. This record generally sounds calm, melodic, sad, and introscope. It provides just the right amount of variety, with a faster "Setting Me Up" with a strong rock-n-roll feel, calm "Six Blade Knife", "Wild West End" and "Lions", a harder "In The Gallery", and bluesy melodic greatness of "Down to the Waterline" and "Sultans of Swing".
The album is created with perfect taste and plenty of soul to it. It comes highly recommended, and perhaps this is where your Dire Straits collection should start.