From the beginning of the song, Brothers in Arms captivates. Its haunting guitar solos and whispery vocals make me close my eyes and listen to the unmistakable essence of the song. As Mark Knopfler sings an ode about ancient Scotland and war, his gruff voice and his guitar creates a powerful feeling of desolation. But it was a kind of feeling that Victor Hugo described as “the pleasure of being sad”.
Now the suns gone to hell
And the moons riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But its written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We’re fools to make war
On our brothers in arms…
This was brought about by a 2006 TV police procedural drama, In Justice, which I caught on TV the other night. My attention was really on Fritz when I heard the familiar melody in the background. Tuning in, I couldn’t remember the song but memories came rushing back. I went to bed with the familiar melody in my head.
I become a bit obssessive when I couldn't remember something, so the next morning, I asked my brother if he remembers the melody---I hummed and described the guitar. Voila! It’s Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms! (Memory loss is definitely the result of general anaesthesia, not old age! No kidding!:D) Anyway, I have a Dire Straits cd since forever but I haven’t listened to it in years. It’s actually a burned cd, a collection of songs from their albums. When I came home that night, I dug up the cd and listened and remember how much I love Dire Straits.
So what’s so special about Dire Straits? Is it that whiff of “don’t-give-a-damn” attitude, the classic air of negligence in Mark Knopfler’s delivery, or the brilliant guitar playing? Not in the same brilliance as Jimi Hendrix or Joe Satriani but definitely up there.
Dire Straits is definitely not for everybody. While I was raving about the band’s music years ago, a friend who was totally into rock music said that the songs are so boring, she couldn’t stand it! In the reign of punk-rock, I thought Dire Straits music is unique and mind-blowing. I love the combined folk-blues sound of their music, and the fact that they don’t vent out their frustrations in the open but instead let their feelings gush through in a more subtle, intelligent manner.
Other standouts in the collection, aside from their hits Sultan of Swing, Romeo and Juliet, Tunnel of Love, Money for Nothing, are the thought-provoking slow blues, Fade To Black and Your Latest Trick, with its Caribbean feel and sensational sax, done with an amazing feeling of taste.
Dire Straits’ music is definitely diverse and eclectic. For lovers of fine guitar, Dire Straits shouldn't be missed---they’re probably the best rock band in history!
Dire Straits was an award-winning English rock band formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (vocals and guitar), his brother David (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums). The band was dissolved in 1995.