ON EVERY STREET
Dire Straits (Warner Bros. 26680)
As any Dire Straits fan knows, Mark Knopfler's singing is far from forceful -- half the time, he barely seems to be moving his lips. But he says a lot with that laid-back drawl, even if it takes a few listens to "On Every Street" to appreciate it. Unlike the brash, radio-friendly "Brothers In Arms," the songs here are restrained and reflective; even relatively raucous numbers like "The Bug" (as in "Sometimes you're the windshield/ Sometimes you're the bug") or "Heavy Fuel" (this album's "Money for Nothing") only push his delivery from mumble to grumble. But by keeping things low-key, Knopfler almost forces the listener to give his songs the attention necessary to grasp the quiet strengths of "Iron Hand" or the country-tinged "When It Comes to You."
ROLL THE BONES
Rush (Atlantic 82293)
Over the years, reviewers have used a variety of adjectives to describe the music of Rush, but "funky" was never one of them. After all, intricate, over-driven guitar leads and complex, jazzy drum fills were always more this band's speed than dance beats and rhythm breaks. Even so, "Roll the Bones" not only finds the trio getting down, but seeming utterly at home in the groove. It isn't just that songs like "Where's My Thing" or "The Big Wheel" emphasize the beat; the group even goes so far as to include a rap sequence in the title tune! Better still, this new-found funkiness further energizes an already zippy collection of melodies, making this the band's most approachable album yet.