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