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Rock album by Mark Knopfler

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Long on Dynamics Short on Energy

  • Feb 12, 2005
Like many of the other reviewers, I admire Mark Knophler as a talented guitar player and songwriter. Over the years, I have learned to appreciate that his vocal style fits in well with his music.

On his recent Shangri La CD, Mark shows hints of his guitar brilliance and writes some interesting lyrics here and there. Also, the atmosphere is quite captivating as it was on previous recordings. However, the songs themselves are way too sluggish with barely a trace of energy. In spite of some nice guitar embelleshments, there is not one cut loose edgy solo in this fourteen song batch.

Furthermore, the overall tone of this CD is strongly lacking in the area of variety. There is a minimum of keyboard touches and an overabundance of fokly acoustic guitar passages. On Sailing To Philadelphia and The Rag Pickers Dream there were so many more instrumental touches and even a few world oriented sounds.

Postcards From Paraguay is a slight diversion from the usual fare on Shangri La and is probably the most noteworthy track. Boom Like That, Song For Sonny Liston, and Everybody Pays also seem to be fairly memorable. Whereas the remaining tracks are not bad, they really do not distinguish themselves.

I would recommend that the next time Mark Knophler records a solo CD that he include some more songs that are either fast paced and/or rock n roll oriented. The atmospheric slow paced acoustic fare that over loads this Shangri La recording where pleasant can be a good antitdote for insomnia on a few too many cases.

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Glenn Wiener ()
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Mark Knopfler isn't afraid to drop names. The heavyweight Cassius Clay laid low, the man who made burgers and fries into big business, the kings of rock & roll and skiffle are among the motley assortment who pass through Knopfler's fourth solo album. Recorded in Malibu with a tight crew of steadfast Knopfler sidemen,Shangri-La(the title comes from the studio where the entire set was recorded) chronicles the foibles of the acclaimed and the adrift, all delivered with the nonchalant grace that has marked Knopfler's music sinceDire Straitsemerged in the late '70s. Seven of album's 14 originals clock in at between five and seven minutes. That's Knopfler in a nutshell--don't rush things, but don't loose the thread, either. As a songwriter, Knopfler has a storyteller's eye for minutiae, which he delivers with practiced nuance. He overreaches here and there ("Song for Sonny Liston" fails to capture the pathos of the menacing fighter), but also pulls off a few career highlights (the understated crime-drama opener "5.15 a.m.").--Steve Stolder
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Label: WEA, Reprise
Artist: Mark Knopfler
Release Date: September 28, 2004

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