Mark Knopfler
One Deep River


3.8
excellent

Review

by Sunnyvale STAFF
April 15th, 2024 | 7 replies


Release Date: 04/12/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Groovy nights and golden days, feel like they might just slip away

Mark Knopfler’s solo career, perhaps as much as his previous role as frontman for Dire Straits, has cemented him a spot as one of the more admirable elder statesmen in rock music. For decades now, he’s been steadily cranking out worthwhile new albums, nearly all of which feature at least a classic tune or two. Knopfler has managed to build upon the strengths he brought to Dire Straits - his weathered voice, wistful lyricism, and wondrous guitar playing - while also leaning further and further into his long-standing infatuation with genres like blues, folk, and country. His discography is littered with thoughtful and atmospheric tunes telling timeless stories, often dwelling upon traditional masculine archetypes like boxers, sailors, and gangsters. At this point, you know what you’re getting from Knopfler, but it’s basically guaranteed to be quality.

Now, with all that praise, it must be noted that Knopfler’s solo career hasn’t been without its downsides as well. Many of his records sprawl well over an hour in length and likely merit some trimming for maximum results. And, his music has, for a while now, been trending in an ever-sleepier direction - something his style is well-suited for, but not preferable for every taste.

One Deep River finds Knopfler at the ripe old age of seventy-four, and having not released a new record in six years – the longest gap between albums in quite a while. For the most part, though, this latest effort doesn’t feel like much of a divergence from the singer-songwriter’s norm. It continues his recent slide into more and more mellow musical territory - even vaguely high-energy tracks like the jaunty opener “Two Pairs Of Hands” and the bluesy “Scavengers Yard” are quite chill, while still proving positively energetic compared to the dozing country-rock of “Smart Money” or the utterly subdued “Black Tie Jobs” and “This One’s Not Going To End Well”. While the twelve songs presented here are consistently pretty great, it’s also questionable whether any of them are truly highlights of the Knopfler catalog - perhaps a case could be made for the gorgeous “Janice” or the contemplative closing title track. However, on the positive side of the ledger, One Deep River resists the artist’s tendency towards bloated tracklists, leaving the listener with a taut and digestible run totaling less than fifty-two minutes. That, combined with the album’s consistent favoring of a muted but emotive style throughout, makes for a wonderfully listenable product, at least for a certain audience.

About that: One Deep River ultimately isn’t likely to convince skeptics of Knopfler’s previous material. Indeed, given the reliably languorous pace and vibe here, even some existing fans of this guitar god might be unimpressed. Nonetheless, this is a record which seems to hit a bullseye regarding its creator’s vision, forming a delicate collection of vignettes, warm and subtly beautiful despite the frequent violence of its narratives - murder in “Tunnel 13”, revenge in “Sweet As The Rain”, portents of doom in the aforementioned “This One’s Not Going To End Well”, etc. It’s a nostalgic release full of wisdom, like hearing from an old friend, providing the kind of evening fireside soundtrack which hits just right in a particular mood. If nothing else, it’s a marvel how much emotion Knopfler, getting on in years, can still eke out of those guitar strings. Long live the man and the music.



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user ratings (8)
2.7
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2024


5907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

I'm a bit of a Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler fanboy, so take that for what you will.



This album has a bad rating here so far (doing better on RYM) and it's certainly not for everyone, quite low-key instrumentally even by Knopfler's recent standards, but I'd put it firmly in the middle of the pack for his solo releases. More trimmed-back tracklist and consistent vision than usual, which suits it well.

Beardog
April 15th 2024


5231 Comments


This guy is still making music? sick. I kinda hate the way he sings but his production and instrumentals are quite awesome most of the time

Butkuiss
April 16th 2024


7067 Comments


I kinda love Knopfler but tbh the generic ass cover art has not made me confident about the level of care put into this one

Icebloom
April 19th 2024


775 Comments


>resists the artist’s tendency towards bloated tracklists
>fifty-two minutes

Length still sounds a bit intimidating to me lol. But then again it's not really my style so might be on me

Kinda surprised Mark's still releasing music

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2024


5907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

@Butkuiss, I actually quite like the album artwork (color scheme really works for me), but yeah it is kinda generic.



@Icebloom, true, fifty-two minutes isn't exactly short, but this album feels quite digestible, particularly when compared to his frequent over-an-hour releases.

Sciroccu
April 20th 2024


966 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Everything is just too slowly paced (the music, his voice) and quiet. Monochordous and annoying album to me (and the 5 bonus track songs are in the exact same vein)...

I will listen to it a few more weeks though as usual but I dont expect anything anymore at this point, it is sure that u can listen to it several times in a row with no issue but nothing really stands out even after many listenings.

On par with "kill to get crimson" to be the most boring album of his discography IMHO.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 5th 2024


5907 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

The thing about a cow town, there's always dust,



The thing about a boom is there's always a bust




Janine is such a beautiful tune.



I seem to be the only person who really digs this, but so it goes sometimes. Definitely understand the sleepiness of this material might be too much in a full dose.



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