96-192kHz/24-bit FLAC/ALAC, Virgin/EMI/Mercury 4716979 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

Knopfler’s eighth solo album mixes rock, Celtic and country influences, and more than a measure of introspection, providing a ‘spot the reference’ game for the casual observer and fans alike. There’s more than a hint of Local Hero here and there – well, quite a lot actually – and his homage to Beryl Bainbridge is pure ‘Sultans Of Swing’, unlikely though that sounds. Inspired by his time touring with Bob Dylan – notably in ‘Silver Eagle’ – this is Knopfler as storyteller, from Bainbridge to poet Basil Bunting, whom he met when he was a copy boy on the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Trouble is, Knopfler’s writing, scoring, and performance are so distinctive that it can sound like there’s not much new here, even though the sound quality of the stripped-down recording is gorgeous. Even that’s really ‘business as usual’, but no complaints from this listener. AE

Sound Quality: 88%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

Recorded using ‘tubes and tape’ (incl. a Neumann U47 mic, Telefunken V76 preamp and Studer A800 2in decks) the mix was stored at 96kHz/24-bit, so this 192kHz rendering is an upsample. This is a superb example of the art. PM