Review by congajoe October 2, 2011 (16 of 17 found this review helpful)
|First of all, there is no more "sameness" to this album than any other Dire Straits offering. Obviously, a group of songs written, played, and sung by any single group will share a degree of uniformity; however, does the upbeat rocker "Industrial Disease" sound at all like the epic "Telegraph Road" with its beautifully ornamented passacaglia passages? How about the erotic, acoustic guitar laced arrpegios and slow burn of the spoken "Private Investigations" as compared to the hard-driven guitar rhythms and prolonged, intense crescendo of "Love Over Gold?"
Dire Straits never produced a weak album, but this one is magnificent, their most ambitious and possibly their finest studio recording.
I agree with one reviewer that the Japanese SHM SACDs are ridiculously overpriced, but his assertion that this SACD is inferior to the Bob Ludwig mastered CD could not be more wrong. That CD is plagued by considerable brickwall compression (The Dynamic Range tool reports 0.00 overhead for both the left and right channels) and is painful to listen to at even moderately high volume. Run a couple of wavs through an audio editor and you will find brutal clipping on all but the softer passages.
I bought the LP when it came out and have listened to it many times, and I can say with certainty that this SACD is remarkably similar to the vinyl. Knopfler's vocals have not been artificially boosted, but remain laid-back as they were intended; the music displays great dynamic range, from pianissimo to fortissimo -- which probably accounts for some listeners perceiving it to be a "quiet" recording. I can play the SACD at very high levels with no listener-fatigue at all. It is clean and highly detailed, with a sense of space around the instruments that brings out their distinctive timbres and makes them sound more real and present in the room.
I've heard a couple of SHM SACDs that were not so impressive, but in those cases I think it was due to the poor recording of the original masters. "Love Over Gold" simply shimmers, and I can't recommend it more highly. It is a beautiful-sounding SACD of a truly classic album.
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