Thursday, June 11, 2009

Simple Minds - "Graffitti Soul"

Yeah. A review of a Simple Minds album. You didn't expect that, did you?

And I bet you also didn't expect that I was going to praise it either did you?

“Oooh, this Collins is a contrary bastard isn't he? Slagging off up and coming Cage the Elephant one day and then saying good things about a band just past their 30th birthday
” you might think to yourself “I bet he's doing this just to wind us up?”

Well. Bear with me.

Back when I was a precocious teenager, there were three early Simple Minds albums which fascinated me. 'Real to Real Cacophony', 'Empires & Dance' and 'Sons & Fascination' featured pulsating bass lines, banshee-like guitars, futuristic keyboards and oblique lyrics, half of which seemed to be about travel, which being the escapist kind of lad I was I liked.

And also, all three of the albums were a world away from the stadium rock band that Simple Minds would become in the mid-80s.

But so is their latest release.

This a propulsive, grower of a record which may have the polished production, but swaps the bombast for a surprisingly understated, textured album.

Opener “Moscow Underground” is the stand out track, harking back to the travelling theme of their early work, a dark and powerful song driven along by a powerful bassline; closely followed by “Blood Type O” complete with with Eno-like throbbing keyboards and echoes of the euro-trance found on "Empires & Dance".

The nods to arena rock haven't all gone away - the radio friendly single “Rockets” and “Stars will Lead the Way” for example, both have the big, sleek production and choruses signposted from a mile away, but neither slips into a Belfast Child bombast or the soundtrack to a Molly Ringwald film.

This is what real music journalists like to call “a return to form”. Except, in Simple Minds case that already happened in 2002 when they released “Cry.” With that album, follow-up 'Black & White' and now 'Graffiti Soul' , Simple Minds have another trilogy to rival the influence of their early work.

I don't really expect you to believe me, especially as I only have two regular readers - one of whom will still be thinking “Collins you contrary bastard” while the other one knows that I am...

Right, anyway, that's the end of the review. You can go back to masturbating over Cage the Elephant and Ladyhawke now, kids.

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear, Kerr n Burchill got their mojo back. Personally liked brooding B&W a tad better, but there's undeniably some real unpolished popgems on this album. Their albums can only get better by this succesrate. 'Stars' should have been leadoff single though..