- 13 Feb 18
Scotch curate's egg.
Long-time ‘Minds fanciers always have that moment of dread when there’s a new release. Will they shoot for the genius of New Gold Dream or peddle material a bit harder to love along the lines of their stadium crimes of old? The answer this time is a bit of both: perhaps that’s what the title refers to.
‘Magic’ and ‘Summer’ both have elements of “The Big Music” that was the band’s stock-in-trade during the second half of the eighties – nagging choruses and more echo on Charlie Burchill’s guitars than the Grand Canyon – but they’re proof positive that the lads can still carve out a tune, and should provide Kerr with ample opportunity to perform his patented “releasing a dove back into the wild” dance moves on the current tour. ‘The Signal And The Noise’ goes back to those early “European” records, while ‘Barrowland Star’ – named for the iconic ballroom in the East End of Glasgow that the band have played more than once - and the title track incorporate string arrangements, enhancing their wide-screen sheen. Closer ‘Sense Of Discovery’ lifts its call and response vocals from 1985’s lovably daft mega-hit ‘Alive & Kicking’, and if anyone’s going to do it, it might as well be Simple Minds.
When their “acoustic” show pulled into The Olympia last year, Jim Kerr was obviously a man very much at ease in his own skin. Simple Minds are making records for themselves, and must realise this enjoyable enough effort is unlikely to win over any doubters. As he sits sipping something cold on the veranda of his Villa Angela hotel overlooking the Ionian Sea, do you reckon Mr. Kerr is worried? Sticazzi!