Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Strange Course of The Blue Nile

I'm reading a book (by Allan Brown) about The Blue Nile - the band not the river. It's funny how they've become this cult group par excellence. To become a cult I suppose you have to have huge gaps between albums (unless you're Nurse With Wound or your lead singer commits suicide), and The Blue Nile qualify on that score. Formed in 1981, they took three years to record their debut, A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984), followed by a gap of five years till Hats (1989), seven years till Peace at Last (1996) and eight years till High (2004). Which means that the next should be around next year. But don't hold your breath. 
Their following isn't huge, but it is devoted. I've never seen them live, but people speak of their concerts in semi-religious tones. For me, their first two albums are exquisite - dreamy, romantic, grand, spacious, passionate, measured (yet somehow still 'alternative') examples of pop music. 
But then they lost it. They could/should have been huge, but there's something wilfully, beguilingly perverse about them. The fact that their two early classics were released by Linn, a local hi-fi company who'd never released a record before, perhaps says it all. I can't imagine the three of them living in LA, which they did for a while in the early 90s. Nor can I imagine Paul Buchannon going out with Rosanna Arquette, also in LA (where else?). 
Anyway, while we wait for another album (which probably won't come), there's a solo album, Mid-Air, by Buchannon. It's nice, reserved, but not essential. The book's great though.    

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