Until recently, I had no idea this even existed — a short documentary following the Blue Nile’s 1990 American tour. Too bad I was only seven years old at the time and wouldn’t hear any of the band’s music for another seven years or so.
I think every Blue Nile album inhabits some realm of greatness. Even the material they threw away and relegated to B-side status is disturbingly good, But the one that stands out the most for me is A Walk Across the Rooftops. It’s one of the most weirdly organic synthesizer-based albums of the 1980s. It’s about as far away from typical synth-pop as you can get, and it’s one of those albums that will make your ears very happy if you play it on a good hi-fi system or high-end headphones. The title track was actually made for just that purpose, commissioned by Linn Electronics, who wanted something with a lot of dynamics to show off their audio equipment and liked the results so much they formed their own record label to release the album — or so the story goes (it’s since been revealed to be somewhat apocryphal, but it’s still a good story).
I’ve always thought Paul Buchanan had one of the best voices — remarkably human and vulnerable, but also capable of great range and power. I’d be glad to never hear another insipid love song for the rest of my life. But when this guy sings, “I love you,” I believe him.