This was the first Dire Straits album I heard, more than 20 years ago - and it still gives me goosebumps today. Despite the fact that it only has a few songs, it is all class - anarchic social commentary, insightful story, whimsical, lyrical ballad... all set amidst a deep texture of subtle instrumental colours.
'Telegraph Road' is perhaps the most interesting 20+ minute song to make it onto the charts. If you shut your eyes, you can "see" the town around it being constructed in rapid retrospect, and it's easy to sense the ensuing loneliness of being cooped up in an urban sprawl.
'Private Investigations' is a reflection of the activities of the urban underworld. However, it is the different timbres created within each section which make it interesting - the best way to listen to this is to put on the headphones and turn up the volume. Mark Knopfler's effortless acoustic guitar playing is a real gem, and the conversations with the vibraphone are particularly effective.
'It Never Rains' is a truly wonderful out-take. It begins all innocent and smurf-theme-like, but builds up as the resentment in the lyrics takes over, to the point where the growling electric guitar spits venom at the end.
Self-righteous, judgemental, sarcastic, intolerant of fools - this album speaks savagely of a time when power-dressing, huge shoulder pads, too much hair and over-the-top make-up were the fashion statements, and clawing your way to the top was the predominant occupation. Hence it is still a timely voice today!