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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Jan-19 > REISSUES

REISSUES

SIMPLE MINDS

REJUVENATION 2001-2014

DEMON

★★★

SIMPLE MINDS HAVE ENJOYED A WELCOME RENAISSANCE IN RECENT TIMES – AND THIS NEW BOXSET CHARTS THEIR CREATIVE RENEWAL IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Gold doesn’t turn to shit overnight. Diamonds don’t dissolve to dust. The accepted view that Simple Minds, in their early years the most precious and molten of electro-dreamers, succumbed to hubris and became bombastic and worthless, is simply too pat.

That said, there is no doubt they had wilderness years. Speaking to Classic Pop this year, Jim Kerr freely confessed that his band spent the early 21st-century flatlining: “You find out a lot about yourself when you’re in a van driving to a half-full club, past a stadium that you once sold out.” Those fallow years may not appear a period ripe for anthologising, yet this new 6LP coloured-vinyl studio albums boxset, with three of the albums out on vinyl for the first time, tells a more complex story than you might expect. Even when the Minds lost their way, they had a pulse.

Their nadir was 2001 covers album Neon Lights. Their windy takes on Bowie, Patti Smith, Kraftwerk, The Doors and Roxy Music were sleek but added nothing to the originals, and turning Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart into a jaunty electro ditty was truly baffling.

Next year’s Cry was little better, a turgid plod through the motions where only the Vince Clarke-penned The Floating World showed any signs of life. Its chart placing of No.80 seemed entirely apt but then, a recovery began.

Black & White 050505 (2005) opened with the potent Stay Visible, a charged return to the epic grandeur of early career jewels such as Glittering Prize, and spawned the halting single Different World. It was a turning point. After all of the bluster, Simple Minds were striving to be intimate again.

By 2009’s Graffiti Soul, they were back in the Top 10 and, on songs like the thrumming Rockets and hell-for-leather This Is It, Kerr had relocated his soul as Charlie Burchill’s guitar was once again spitting out miracles. Moscow Underground even found them re-embracing I Travel-style motorik: a most welcome development.

The title of 2014’s Big Music was ominous, as if heralding a return to the portentous flatulence that had derailed them. Yet it was misleading, since tracks like Blindfolded and Honest Town were as poised and charged as anything they had crafted since New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).

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About Classic Pop

Issue 48 is on sale now! In our latest issue we look ahead to the most hotly-anticipated album of 2019 – it’s the return of Madonna. We also analyse her six personas that changed the face of pop and wax lyrical about her classic album Like A Prayer. We’ve got outrageous must-read interviews with Paul Heaton plus Echo and the Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch and Ultravox fans will love our chat with the legendary Midge Ure. Our panel of experts look back over the year to count down their pick of the finest albums, reissues, compilations and books of 2018 and elsewhere we catch up with The Fizz to hear about their rollercoaster year as well as tracing the make-or-break record that saved The Jam’s career. We review new releases by Trevor Horn, Joe Jackson and Fun Lovin' Criminals while in our packed reissues section we look at Simple Minds, Depeche Mode, Brian Eno and much more. We also check out gigs by Heaven 17, Rick Astley and Blancmange.