Dire Straits never were a three minute single band, but the trend towards longer, elaborate songs reached its peak in their 1982 album, Love Over Gold. This is their most intimist, almost nocturne album. Springsteen‘s influence is still present, but it’s not as evident as in their previous album, Making Movies.
The initial song, “Telegraph Road“, is probably my favourite from this album. It’s the most “Springsteenesque” from a musical point of view, but also in its fourteen minutes of length. “Private Investigations” is more intimate, with Knopfler’s Gibson Chet Atkins, an electrified, solid body classic (!) guitar, in greater evidence. “Industrial Disease” is a complete change of tempo, to the point that it sounds a little out of place. It’s the first instance of Dire Straits’ use of rock’n’roll as a vehicle for ironic themes, which will re-surface in a lighter form in their subsequent “Twisting by the Pool” single. “Love Over Gold” goes back to the themes and atmosphere of the first two songs, while “It never rains” is more of a standard Dire Straits song, both in tempo and melody.
Dire Straits are not my favourite band, but I’m rather fond of this record, if just because I respect the way they did not just try and cash in on Making Movies‘s success. Love Over Gold is definitely worth buying, just possibly not as one’s first taste of Dire Straits music; for that I’d go for their eponymous first album.