Simple Minds: Graffiti Soul Album Review

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The Simple Minds story is a long an eventful one, too long to recount in an album review, but a quick peek into their history does tell us a few things. Firstly, Simple Minds are a band that despite line-up changes are still a powerful and passionate song writing unit, and second, that this passion often runs alongside experimentation, which hasn’t always been well received, even by loyal Simple Minds fans.

So the question is, how will everyone react to the 15th Simple Minds album Graffiti Soul when it’s released? Well only time will tell, but for now here’s my insight into the new release. I was first attracted by the title and definition of Graffiti in the album artwork. It reads “Graffiti is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted, or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is sometimes regarded as a form of art and other times regarded as unsightly damage or unwanted”. I repeat this as having listened to the album, and read up a little on the band, it seems to be a well thought out and very apt title. I’d describe Simple Minds as an art form, albeit one that will appeal to certain types of music fans.

In true Simple Minds style, this is a mix of ambient dance inspired tracks, and some lighter rock, mixed together with Jim Kerr’s recognisable vocals. Songs like Moscow Underground have quite a heavy, underground feel to them, whilst others like ‘Light Travels’, to me have a somewhat mystical air. I’d say that the Minimalist approach to lyrics didn’t quite hold my attention, but the hard work that’s gone into the sequencing and production of these songs is evident. My personal preference is leaning more towards the lighter, more infectious sounds that come from ‘Rockets’ and ‘Stars Will Lead The Way’. Look out for some well crafted melodies and instrumentation here. For me it’s an album that reflects the classic Simple Minds that I am familiar with, with some interesting stories in the lyrics to keep things fresh. I hear that the band celebrated their 30th birthday in 2008; that can’t be bad can it?

More information on Simple Minds and their new album at www.simpleminds.com

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12 Comments

  1. I glad you liked it. I have heard snippets from the new album on the official website and it sounds like it’s going to be a classic!!

  2. Heard most of the albim, it sounds amazing melodies and hooks all over the place. Moscow underground the 1st track is amazingly atmospheric and unique sounding.

  3. I’ve heard about six of the new tracks so far, and they’ve definitely grabbed my attention. There’s an undeniable energy to this band, a refusal to sit back and rest on its laurels or take the easy way out by writing pablum simply for the sake of charting. Suffice to say, they’re still swinging and there’s a lot of energy in their bat. “Moscow Underground” is a homerun outta the ballpark, as they say. From what I’ve heard so far, it’s a very solid album – the new tracks are true to the band’s legacy without rehashing formulas that worked in the past. It’s what we’ve come to expect from a Simple Minds album — but not predictable. I strongly recommend this album — esp. to anyone who may have drifted away over the years and forgotten what a great band Simple Minds really is.

  4. alot to like,,but a little to processed in the bass /drum section in most tracks,
    dry edge growling rock bass with ambient no- edge drum mix,
    a little to kareoke for mine..
    you need tight melodic bass /drums to compliment the atmospheric vocal/guitar = there best early work…throw away the chord chart and go for it!!

  5. apologies for talkin out my ‘ass’-this album grows on you-
    still think mix could be more edgy in places…good…

  6. Great new album! They have done it again….;-)
    I’ll see Simple Minds again at Pinkpop Classic in Landgraaf in the Netherlands. Jippie!

  7. Simple Minds in fine form here! Probably more cohesive than 050505, it takes you on a very enjoyable ride. Charlie Burchill’s guitar work is out front where it belongs and there is a classic Simple Minds spark to a number of tracks which will remind of New Gold Dream and Sparkle In The Rain!

  8. sons and fascination and new gold dream are 2 of the best albums ever. they should have qiut after them.

  9. My iPod says that i’ve played Moscow Underground 38 times in two days. I like it THAT much.