13 May 2013

13th May - The Blue Nile's A Walk Across the Rooftops

Artist – Album: The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops
Released:  13th May 1984             
Sounds Like: It was cutting edge, a long time ago

There are a few things that I’ve always known to be true – the sky is blue, 1 + 1 = 2, Coen Brothers films are worth getting excited about, and Sir Alex Ferguson is the manager of the team I support. My preconceptions of just about everything have now been altered though as SAF, the legend that has incredibly been the incumbent manager of Manchester United for the entire 25 years I’ve spent on this earth, is to retire. The news is actually now about a week old, and maybe the reason I’ve been surprisingly silent on the subject is that it’s not really sunk in. However, with yesterday’s bittersweet victory being the last time he’ll ever sit in the dugout and bark Scottish swears at his terrified charges after an unparalleled 27 years, and today’s parade having a festival atmosphere, Fergie has been given more than a fitting send off and I’m finally come to terms with it.

To give some measure of just how different the world was when the Govan guv’nor first rocked up just down the road at Old Trafford, today’s album, A Walk Across the Rooftops by his compatriot’s the Blue Nile, was still cutting edge and new. Seriously. This. An album that was created to showcase the crispness and clarity of the brand new invention of compact discs. The synth-heavy, atmospheric songs here were once considered the epitome of sophistication, but they are now unmistakably Eighties.

Despite the fact that they have aged somewhat, that the instrumentation does sometimes come across as clunky, and Paul Buchanan’s rich, deep voice can be something of an acquired taste, it remains an intriguing listen. Over the seven lengthy tracks from the title song, the trio paint an autumnal masterpiece upon their avant-garde canvas. ‘Tinsel Town in the Rain’ is grandiose and melancholic ("Do I love you? Yes I love you, But it's easy come, and it's easy go, All this talking is only bravado"), ‘Easter Parade’ is subtle and beautiful and ‘Heatwave’ is elegant and soulful.

Over the almost thirty years since this debut albums release, the group have released three more critically acclaimed albums, at a rate of roughly one for every ten Ferguson trophies. Quite the legacy.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       A Walk Across the Rooftops – 4:56
2.       Tinseltown in the Rain – 5:57
3.       From Rags to Riches – 5:59
4.       Stay – 4:57
5.       Easter Parade – 4:34
6.       Heatwave – 6:28
7.       Automobile Noise – 5:08

Listen to ‘Tinseltown in the Rain’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhiQ-a8CkPY

Also released on the 13th May:
1985: New Order – Low-Life
Also released on the 13th May:
1985: Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

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