Trust me to fall in love with one of the least prolific bands on the planet!
The good news is that the Blue Nile are about to release a new album called ‘High’ – their first since 1996. The bad news is that the only review I’ve read so far says that it’s their worst record to date. Bollocks.
If you’ve never heard of the Blue Nile, then I implore you to check out their first two albums, ‘A Walk Across the Rooftops’ and ‘Hats’.
What do they sound like? A tricky one. They’re a bit like Tom Waits backed by Talk Talk on on a windswept late night train rattling through the outskirts of a big city.
Or maybe these quotes sum them up better:
“The Blue Nile’s records seem to be about ordinary things and ordinary people – the pathos and beauty of an ordinary life. They are enigmatic, sketchy invocations of city life. They take ordinary situations and make them glorious.”
“…the first album was a one-off, an album like nothing else we’d encountered. Nothing happened and everything happened. The music came out raw, tender, vulnerable, hard, achingly human, logical and, on the wrong days, almost unbearably emotional.”
“… If anything, the songs on Hats are stripped down even more than before. Tempos are, for the most part, hypnotically slow. Sparse drums, the barest skeletons of structure sketched in on tinkling pianos, occasional pastel washes of synthetic strings, and Paul Buchanan’s haunted voice carrying fragile strands of melody that melt away into the backdrop before you’ve quite grasped them.”
So why do they take so chuffin’ long to finish albums?
The singer/songwriter Paul Buchanan explains: “We’re not in this for the money. We’re in this because the songs come when they come and we don’t put anything out unless it deserves to go out.”
If the new album has only rare, occasional glimpses of the late night, melancholic dark beauty evoked by their earlier releases, then it’ll still be finding a place on my CD player…
Recommended MP3 downloads for the curious: “Headlights on the Parade”, “Saturday Night” and “Tinseltown in the Rain”