Some eight barren years have elapsed since Glasgow's nocturnal melancholics the Blue Nile last tendered a studio album. However, patience is a virtue and "High"--which features material conceived and recorded over a ten year period, including a song once gifted to a former Spice Girl
--yields a generous dividend for prostrate audiophiles and sleepwalking nighthawks alike. Like a far-away comet circling the universe in sublime and yet static perpetuity, the Blue Nile maneuver impressively into view every few years having changed very little, a compliment which can scarcely be applied to many other artists in their profession. In the manner of Talk Talk
's Mark Hollis or Jackie Leven, Paul Buchanan's distressed utterances exude a downcast but romantic spirituality, mining a rich blue seam of fatigued detachment from the diaphragm upwards while somewhere in the background pianos, electronic drums, and subtle acoustic guitars pulse inconspicuously and yet with all the assurances of a heart steadily beating inside the chest. Eavesdropping on restaurant conversations, gazing at passing cars, looking at "the morning people going to work and fading away" is the stuff of cold, terminal exclusion but "High" is beautifully warm, offering the uncluttered quiescent orderliness of sonic Feng Shui for the soul. --Kevin Maidment
Scottish band The Blue Nile, named after Alan Moorehead's classic 1962 novel, began their journey at Glasgow University at the turn of the 70s/80s where Paul Buchanan, Robert Bell and PJ Moore were studying. The group released a debut album A Walk Across The Rooftops in 1984 that became a major cult hit album through word of mouth. Their folk-ambient sound, with its tasteful combination of electronics and romantics, sounded like nothing else at the time and built a loyal fan base that still exists today. In 1989 their album Hats went Top 20 in the UK and spawned 2 hit singles - "Saturday Night" and "Downtown Lights." After a lengthy gap the band signed to Warner and in 1996 released Peace At Last. Celebrity Blue Nile fans include Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel and the band's songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Isaac Hayes and Tom Jones, Melanie C and the Harlem Gospel Singers. Now signed to Sanctuary and managed by Ed Bicknell (Dire Straits) The Blue Nile are releasing their fourth album High. Rumours of a long-awaited new Blue Nile album have been circulating in the music press and amongst certain radio DJs for some months now; there is tremendous anticipation amongst fanatics for this new collection of songs. As the strongest Blue Nile album to date, it is sure to satisfy hardcore fans as well as enveloping a new set of devotees. "The Blue Nile makes incredibly simple-sounding, emotional records about the stuff that fascinates them. And they're very good at it." NME "Inexpressibly lovely music that owes practically nothing to the vagaries of fashion." - Q.