Amazing Records That Sound Incredible: The Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops (Linn Records, 1984)

Dismissed by music fans as a hifi test record… looked down upon for the same reason by fans of the Blue Nile’s masterpiece Hats… But make no mistake, this is a GREAT record, a high point of glossy 80s pop. And yes, it sounds incredible.

The legend is that Glasgow hifi company Linn (makers of the famous LP12 turntable, on which my own turntables are based) liked this music so much that they decided to start their own label to release it. The legend is also that Linn then took control of the production of the record itself, filling it with gimmicky ear candy sound effects to sell their hifi gear. There’s no truth to that, though: like absolutely everything Blue Nile leader Paul Buchanan has done, this record was produced with absolute dead-earnest sincerity. Yes, I can see some of the cheese that others complain about… but for me, this record feels considerably LESS dated that some celebrated contemporaneous 80s pop productions. And, seriously, many of these songs move me to tears. “Heat Wave” puts it all together: inventive glitz and gloss, and the heart-melting sincerity of the vocals…

So yes, I think the music is great. But this one is definitely better known for the sound quality than the songwriting. And although that’s not fair, the sound quality *is* astounding. This is one that just takes your breath away, a definite 10/10. Again, I’d go straight to “Heat Wave,” but the opening track, “A Walk Across the Rooftops,” does feature a moody, abstract overture that will test your subwoofer and raise hairs on your neck. I have the UK first pressing, and it’s the one to get. Not expensive, either…

Discogs link

Link to my Instagram post (with audio)

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