Album Reviews: High by The Blue Nile2.5 stars out of 5
Blue Nile fans are sometimes an unhappy lot. Their favorite band is notorious for avoiding the studio -- they've only released four full studio albums in nearly two decades -- and more often than not, their music is an exercise in overt melancholia. Which is not to say that it cannot connect with you; indeed, Glasgow's Blue Nile excels at the type of plaintive earnestness that has made nice careers for the current crop of alt-folkies playing at a coffeehouse near you. Perhaps that's why the Nile feels they can get away with a title so opposite their chosen sonic vibe. Which is another way of saying that High is anything but.
High is a measured affair, with Paul Buchanan's emotive pleas drifting lightly above spare guitar ("Because of Toledo"), piano (the aptly titled "The Days of Our Lives") or beats ("I Would Never"). Given the chilled production and uncluttered arrangements, you'd think that The Blue Nile would be able to step behind the boards more often and turn out more work - it's not like they have to corral an orchestra or anything. But different strokes, as the TV used to sing to me when I was a kid.
If it's raining outside and you've got some candles to burn, then The Blue Nile is for you. But if you're illegally racing your ride across the freeways of California, you better head somewhere else for a soundtrack. - Scott Thill, Morphizm.com
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