Brothers in Arms Helped Define the 80s, Catapulted Dire Straits to Arena Status: Ranked #351 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List
Audiophile System-Testing Sonics: Mobile Fidelity's Hybrid SACD Captures Nuances of Mark Knopfler's Guitar Playing, Textures of Band's Hallmark Rhythms
Winner of Grammy Awards for Best-Engineered Recording and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal
There are hit records. And then there are blockbusters. One of the world's best-selling records, a winner of two Grammy Awards, an era-defining reference statement, an MTV favorite, and a set that catapulted an already-acclaimed band to arena status, Brothers In Arms is the kind of epic spectacular that comes around only once or twice a decade. Surpassed only in fame and visibility during the period by Michael Jackson's Thriller, the 1985 album remains idiosyncratic for its covetable combination of adventurous songwriting, precision-based performances, and reference-caliber fidelity.
Mastered from the original master tapes, and possessing a richness befitting the album's stellar reputation, Mobile Fidelity's numbered-edition hybrid SACD of Brothers In Arms breathes with transparent highs, atmospheric heft, and lifelike tonalities. The sense of realism this edition delivers will leave slack-jawed even the most hard-to-please audiophiles. As the recipient of the Grammy for Best-Engineered Recording, the album has always been a go-to sonic standard, but never has it sounded so reach-out-and-touch-it realistic as it does here. All of the hallmark characteristics – ample spaciousness, ideal balances, widescreen dynamics, immersive depth, lush production – are here in spades. As is music-making of enviable proportions.
While it's easy to speculate that the colossal success of Brothers In Arms relates to its timing – its release during an era obsessed with catchy singles, flashy MTV videos, and whistle-friendly melodies – reasons for the album's chart-busting success primarily owe to the expertly crafted songs and memorable playing turned in by a group hitting its creative peak. Not to mention the spatial dimensions that cause instruments and vocals to naturally float in a fixed area.
Anchored by "Money for Nothing," a caustically themed smash immediately identifiable via Mark Knopfler's resonant finger-picked guitar riff and Sting's "I want my MTV" vocal refrain, Dire Straits' fifth album is stuffed with bluesy signatures, jazz-rock motifs, clever lyrics, and organic accents. Diversity and consistency also extend to the songs' moods. Singing with his trademark light-to-the-touch timbre, Knopfler conjures feelings of poignancy, peacefulness, and mellowness, channeling wistfulness on the Top 10 single "So Far Away" and somber assurance on "Why Worry."
Perfection abounds, not only in the manner in which the band nails its pop hooks and uptempo boogies with debonair flair – but also in the control room. Iconic session jazz drummer Omar Hakim supplies fluid beats and solid rhythmic foundations while Knopfler and Co. comb over grooves so smooth it seems that they're made of honey butter. Dire Straits would never play with such effortless again.
"...This SACD is simply breathtaking, especially the opening of the most famous track, 'Money For Nothing.'"
– Ken Kessler, Hi-Fi News
Money for Nothing
Walk of Life
Your Latest Trick
Ride Across the River
The Man's Too Strong
Brothers in Arms