Wednesday, 3 November 2010

4 lps 29 years - Hats

The Blue Nile's second lp Hats came out in 1989 a relatively brisk 5 years after the debut. Apparently during this time an entire lp worth of material was scrapped. During that time the musical landscape had moved on the the sound of the lp reflected that. The music is a lot smoother and polished and in a lot of ways a more minimal sound. However this is suited perfectly to Paul Buchanan's emotive vocals.

Some of the mystery had gone in that no longer was there a feeling of how on earth did they get that sound as the use of synths started to appear on nearly everything. However in those 5 years the band's following had grown as Walk across the Rooftops started to appear in best ever lp charts and so another type of mystique appeared in terms of who were they and what on earth had they been up to.

Commercially it is still the band's most successful lp. It features this song covered by among others Annie Lennox , an okay version and Rod Stewart which thankfully I've not heard.

The song builds and build until a typical Blue Nile ending of throwing words, snatched images or short phrases together for an overall effect. Neon and trumpets are typical "Blue Nile" words if that makes sense, in the same way that a Suede song isn't really a Suede song unless it has the word gasoline in

The neon's and the cigarettes
Rented rooms and rented cars
The crowded streets, the empty bars
Chimney tops and trumpets
The golden lights, the loving prayers
The coloured shoes, the empty trains
I'm tired of crying on the stairs
The downtown lights


  1. Those first two Blue Nile albums are so amazing. The first proved to me that synths could be beautiful and evocative. The second album proved to me that a "synth band" could have true artistic depth. They played at the legendary Bottom Line in NYC to promote Hats and it was amazing seeing them in an intimate setting where the furthest anyone was from the stage was 50 or 60 feet. One of those nights I will never forget.

  2. I love Downtown lights , Hats is a great album .

  3. Hi Echo - very jealous you saw them at such a small gig

    cheers jay - hats is a great lp although still prefer the first one if it was save one form the fire question


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