Tracker - Rolling Stone
Home Music Album Reviews


Eighties guitar hero looks back with a quietly great solo album

Mark KnopflerMark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty

With bands like the War on Drugs refracting Dire Straits' honeyed 1980s guitar sound, it's surprising that Mark Knopfler hasn't rebooted his old band lately. Instead, he's been unpacking his influences on modest, multifaceted rock LPs like this one. Opening on a vamp recalling Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," then veering into Celtic folk, "Laughs and Jokes and Drinks and Smokes" sets the tone for this burnished set about days past. "Basil" nods to Knopfler's youth in Northumbria; "Skydiver" echoes Seventies Grateful Dead. Knopfler's quicksilver guitar is understated, and he delivers stories of stoic ache like an old watchmaker on a pub stool — quietly riveting.

In This Article: Mark Knopfler


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.