Their dalliance with acoustic versions of their electric back catalogue now [hopefully] over, It’s once again time to remember that I was a Simple Minds fan of long standing. From 2015-2017 I watched the band, hot off the heels of the best album in decades from them, proceed to radically mutate into an acoustic Simple Minds cover band…during the tour for that album – complete with femme guest vocalists. Wha…?? I spent the last couple of years basically ignoring them as they mounted acoustic tours, lost long time members, released a dubious live album and a second acoustic live album/DVD/BluRay. When the email came from SM central trumpeting the new album, late last year, I had almost forgotten that I was a big fan.
Simple Minds: Walk Between Worlds UK CDX 
- The Signal And The Noise
- In Dreams
- Barrowland Star
- Walk Between Worlds
- Sense Of Discovery
- Silent Kiss
- Angel Underneath My Skin
- Dirty Old Town (Live)
Sarah Brown is still rocking BVs. The album sees former drummer Mel Gaynor replaced by Cherisse Ossei [who has played live with them for the last two years], and longtime keyboard player Andy Gillespie out of the picture and supplanted by Gordon Goudie. Goudie had a history with the band between “Cry” and “Graffiti Soul” so he gets a pass. Ms. Ossei is an unknown quantity with me, but given the band’s penchant for programming drums on their recent albums, it may be that she will only factor in the live equation. The tragic Catherine AD is still around [rolls eyes]. Any woman in platform pumps is beyond contempt to my way of thinking. Time will tell if she is actually on the album as she tends to be live support only. Truthfully, I don’t see Simple Minds playing North American stages any time soon.
Simple Minds are having a special 40th Anniversary tour but it’s surprisingly brief and has a strange format. First set – the new album. Then an interview onstage. Followed by classic repertoire. Can’t say I’d be up for a Simple Minds interview in the middle of a rock concert, but if that calls your name, here are the dates.
Simple Minds | 40th Anniversary Tour | 2018
13th Feb | Glasgow | Barrowland Ballroom
14th Feb | Manchester | Albert Hall
15th Feb | London | Roundhouse
17th Feb | Paris | Salle Pleyel
18th Feb | Brussels | Ancienne Belgique
19th Feb | Amsterdam | Paradiso
20th Feb | Copenhagen | Vega
The basic album has a svelte eight tracks and is said to clock in at around 40 minutes. In other words, a “classic” album like we used to get before the “CD bloat.” The CD is the casebound booklet kind and has three extra cuts. “Silent Kiss,” “Angel Underneath My Skin,” and [shakes head incredulously] “Dirty Old Town [live]!” The latter was a charity single that the band cut with a sports figure, Jimmy “Jinky” Johnstone back in 2002 when anything could have happened with Simple Minds. Seeing it pop up, in a live version, 16 years later, is beyond the pale. Personally, I’ve never heard the original since I considered it non-cannonical.
This being 2018, there are a bewildering array of formats and bundles to pre-order.
- CD [+ 3 tracks] – £12
- 2xLP [blue vinyl, webstore only] – £30
- picture disc LP [webstore only] – £25
- std. LP – £20
- Bundle 1: CD/LP/red 7″ [bundled 7″ only] – £30
- Bundle 2: CD/2xLP [blue]/red 7″ – £40
- Bundle 3: LP/PD/CD/red 7″ [signed] £50
- Bundle 4: LP/2xLP [blue]/PD/red 7″ [signed] – £75
I spent weeks trying to glean what was on the B-side of the “Magic” red vinyl 7″ bundled with pre-orders, and thanks to the indispensable Dream Giver fan site [SM.com was surprisingly tight lipped on this important matter, especially when you are asking fans to pony up £30-75] we find that buyers of those bundles will be getting a new song, “Direction Of The Heart” on the 7″ only. Don’t be surprised if it turns out to be the Japanese Only bonus CD track. I know how these things tend to play out.
“Magic” was the pre-release single and it got a video a few weeks ago. Let’s look, shall we?
That’s the original director’s cut, by the way. I’m not sure how it finally ended up. Beyond not thrilled with clip. It’s more of a mo-cap/CGI/particle effects demo reel than a music video. Yet another music video from an artist on the far side of 30 who is not allowed to appear in their own clip. Ageist thinking. As for the song it seems like a return to the bright, shiny pop of the “Cry” album. Which I am okay with. It beats bloated, pious whalesong like that on “Street Fighting Years” and acoustic busking. I loved “Cry” and this felt like it would have been right at home there. Rumblings I’d heard about this single had prepared me for far worse.
Compared to Duran Duran’s last forays into the dirty world of pop, this one smells like a rose. It won’t displace “The American” next to my heart, but I can certainly listen without flinching. I listened to it and “The Signal And The Noise” this morning since pre-ordering netted me two DLs, and after two listens, it’s hooks had already begun to take hold. As well as they should for a song whose melody has been around on the back burner since “Good News From The Next World.” The album that finally convinced me that Simple Minds were coming back home after their decade of arena tours.
As for “The Signal And The Noise,” it inhabited a darker place than the single, with DNA from “Sons + Fascination” still present in the mix while sporting very timely and relevant lyrics that were immediately arresting. I can’t say I have ever listened to Simple Minds for the lyrics, but these were grabbers right off of the starting line. This was a song as great as any of the best cuts from “Big Music.” Which made perfect sense since it was begun during those writing sessions for that album. I usually hate to sample things I’ve mail ordered but these two serve to inspire a fair amount of confidence. Which bundle did I end up buying, you ask?
Well, I’m a stickler for getting all of the music I can provided it’s not a small fortune. I’m okay with deluxe bundles so I went with the LP/CD/7″ combo. That extra 7″ B-side wrung another £18 out of me. I could care less about LPs in the 21st century. The album is released on February 2nd, and any and all of the packages discussed may be pre-ordered here. 2-2-18, and for once it doesn’t matter if your are reading this in America, or abroad! In the meantime, here’s a Goldmine Magazine podcast where Jim Kerr was interviewed to keep you occupied. Keep your eyes peeled for the inevitable review, if we can ever finish the OMD Rock G.P.A.…which will return Monday, now that I have some feedback from readers to help me navigate forward.
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