Sound — 8
On this second album Knopfler's singing skills have somewhat evolved and although he's not a very good singer, his voice again fits perfectly with the feel of the tracks. The instruments used on this album are pretty much the same as on the first with Knopfler's trademark red Strat again producing most tasteful guitar licks. As for the sound and its quality, it seems that this album is more polished than the first one but still retains the rugged quality of the previous. If you love some bluesy music this is the album to go for when Dire Straits are concerned.
Lyrics — 7
Knopfler's songwriting on "Communiqué" reveals a move forward to writing more obscure lyrics in meaning, more Dylan style who was obviously a great influence. The opening track "Once Upon a Time in the West" is that kind of a song. The lyrics vary from literal to metaphorical and sometimes it's difficult to understand them. Knopfler confessed that writing of that song was done in an inebriated state. The follow-ups are again lyrical gems except for maybe News because of the possible overuse of idioms. The emotion stirring "Where Do You Think You're Going?" and amazingly imaginative "Single Handed Sailor" are tunes that will ring in your head for weeks. "Angel of Mercy" is a pleading song with erotic connotations and "Portobelo Belle" tells a story of an Irish girl lost in the wilderness of London. Both of them are great relaxing songs and on "Portobelo" you can hear a great background strumming of the national steel guitar. The last track of the album is "Follow Me Home" which is probably the most obscure one but invokes interesting pictures in your mind. "Lady Writer" and "Communiqué" are more straightforward than the rest of the repertoire but still engaging songs. "Lady Writer" is an anguish song about a memory of a girl that looked like the "Lady Writer" Knopfler saw on TV. Musically it's very similar to "Sultans of Swing" so it received some criticism because of that but Knopfler's sublime guitar licks are always welcome. The title track "Communiqué" was probably inspired by the bands heavy schedule when "celebrity" interviews are concerned and was a comment made about the absurdity of it. Overall if you don't like the sound, this album is definitely worth to read.
Overall Impression — 8
Although not a big mainstream success and by many critics described as a disappointment, this album is a favorite for many Dire Straits fans. The great bluesy feel that it inherited from the debut album is almost palpable. The most impressive song on this album would be "Single Handed Sailor" with its insane guitar licks and imaginative lyrics which can transport into the world of the song. "Where Do You Think You're Going?" is not far away, especially the live versions and "Once Upon a Time" has a groove that won't let you feel indifferent. All in all I think it's a must have for any blues rock fan out there even if not a Dire Straits fan.