Mark Knopfler is not content to be one of those rare electric guitar stylists whose sound is recognizable almost the instant he puts pick to string. It was that fat, slurring but also twangy sound, hitched to an unusually swinging and irresistible brand of countrified blues-rock, that made Sultans of Swing, on Dire Straits' 1978 debut LP, a blockbuster. Since then, Knopfler has been trying to prove himself a composer on a grander scale. The hammer marks of his ambition are all over Side One of Love Over Gold. Telegraph Road opens with portentous synthesizer parts suitable for accompanying the credits of an epic movie. This and the ensuing seven-minute Private Investigations climax with fine guitar breaks, but musically they consist of fitful announcements that promise a lot but never develop. Knopfler is more enjoyable on Side Two, just writing and playing good songs.