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Scots power rockers' career renaissance continues.

The idea of Simple Minds unplugged seemed like a risk after decades of widescreen electronic rock, but 2016's Acoustic had a reinvigorating effect. They've plugged in again for their 18th studio album, sounding eerily youthful and like they're having the time of their lives. Magic, Summer and The Signal And The Noise are so intrinsically "Simple Minds", you half expect vocalist Jim Kerr to materialise in the room wearing a beret and ballet slippers. At times, it teeters between nostalgia and self-parody. "Did we think those days would last forever?" Kerr asks on Barrowland Star, a tribute to the Glaswegian venue, but you can forgive the odd slip-up, because the whole thing soulds so joyous. ****

Mark Blake
Q Magazine

Listen To: Magic | Summer | The Signal And The Noise

I'm glad Summer got a special mention in this review as it's my favourite track from the album.

Jim and Charlie will be signing copies of Walk Between Worlds at HMV record store, Argyle Street, Glasgow, UK on release day Friday 2nd February 2018 at 5:30pm.

Please read the terms and conditions - you need to pre-order the album at the shop and claim a wristband. Only 300 wristbands are available.



Further signs of life from Kerr and co

Enjoying something of a late career renaissance, Simple Minds' first album of new material since 2014's Big Music is an expansive, atmospheric reboot of the muscular melancholy of 1985's Once Upon A Time ("Sense Of Discovery, a lovely fin de siecle electro-ballad, even reprises the vocal refrain from Alive And Kicking). The Signal And The Noise and In Dreams possess a familiar restless propulsion, while the epic stir of Barrowland Star, bolstered by a fine arabesque string arrangement and a searing guitar solo, is as strangely compelling as anything they've done over the past 35 years.

Graeme Thomson
Uncut Magazine
January 2016

Jim was a recent guest on the Goldmine podcast where he joined host Patrick Prince for a conversation about the new album and collecting.

I wasn't aware that Jim and Charlie were collecting their back catalogue - previously they'd simply stated that everything had either been given away or "walked."

Well worth a listen - especially the anecdote about how Jim didn't purchase Bowie's hand-written lyrics for The Jean Genie.

Simple Minds are Classic Pop's cover stars this month. The issue includes a lengthy eight-page interview with Jim where he talks about the new album and the history of the band. (Unfortunately it suffers a little from "1980s bias" where the band's early albums are talked about in detail whilst everything from Street Fighting Years is barely mentioned.) Sidebars include meeting Bowie and a short piece about Villa Angela.

The magazine also includes a full page review of the album, where it's awarded four stars, and the Classic Pop accolade of Best New Release.




That Simple Minds trade in instantly familiar methodology has, at times, left htem sounding predictable. Though 2014's Big Music - with its great, big, you-can't-miss-it signpost of a title - was welcomed in some quarters as a return to form, it still felt stiff and flabby, like a once svelte, now out-of-shape athlete recovering from their first long run after a holiday.

They've kept busy, howeve,r with 2016 devoted to an acoustic album and related tours, and it appears they're now approaching full fitness. In fact, Walk Between Worlds finds them, after 40 years in the game, in as good a form as anyone could hope.

Not that they've changed their tactics. Guitars chime hypnotically and Jim Kerr still sings like a grown man seeing snow for the first time, letting rip uncontainable disbelief.

On the U2-like Summer this excitment is almost poignant, the song's forecast bellowed like news of his first-born sun - "Here comes summer! / Here comes rain!" - before Kerr ends up charmingly, naively tongue-tied: "Here comes lightning! I like the way it shoots!" If his grammatically challenged over-stretching for rhymes might seem gauche - "Here comes all those fantasies / Taking me to my roots" - it's overshadowed by the song's strapping melody and the revelation that finally someone might challenge fellow Scots Travis for pop's meteorological crown.

Indeed, there's climate talk all over the album, from the pumping opener Magic ("It breaks like a storm / This is our kind of weather") to Kerr's insistence - on Sense Of Discovery, a solemn slowburner which borrows knowlingly from Alive And Kicking, and one of hte album's two longest tracks - that: "The rage will dissolve like the wind."

The calmly iridescent Utopia also points at "solar storms" and "falling snow", while a heavy "freeze" bites on In Dreams, the full-bodied positivity of its choruses capitalising on Kerr's glowering delivery elsewhere.

Fortunately, Simple Minds don't take the weather with them everywhere they go. On Barrowland Star, the album's swaggering highlight, they instead celebrate their career, allowing strigns and Charlie Burchill's extended - and we mean Andrex-long - guitar solo to provide the elemental sturm und drang. Like everything on the otherwise trim, 42-minute Walk Between Worlds, it's a familiar as April showers, but currently it's the band's glittering early-1980s catalogue being minded for inspection.

The outlook remains bright, therefore, albeit with occasionally drab spells.

Wyndham Wallace
Classic Pop Magazine
January 2016

The first physical releases associated with Walk Between Worlds have now started surfacing. The first is a single-track French promo CD of Magic.



*** BMG 1442 (CD/LP)
Softly stepping, the bombast beaten

Having long been dismissed in some quarters as a byword for bombast, Simple Minds seemed to have made peace with their place in the pop firmament. Their last album, 2014's acclaimed Big Music, did exactly what it said on the tin, so it's perhaps a surprise that Walk Between Worlds should arrive in a spectrum of more varied hues.

The opening Magic has the requisite chorus anthem but is also a touch reserved, if that's not a contradiction in terms, and could feasibly have been lifted from a late-period Prefab Sprout collection. Jim Kerr can't help but deliver a vocal as if calling from the top of a huge hill, but The Signal And The Noise sees him doing so accompanied by a taut electronica disco beat, closer to the band's early indie singles than the whoop and wail of their massive-selling Virgin years.

Clocking in at an economical 42 minutes, it's possibily the most concise and disciplined album of their entire career; navel-gazing kept to a minimum and no one song outstaying its welcome for more than a few seconds. It's still undeniably cinematic and heartfelt, but clearly the work of mature heads reflecting on excesses of their past, especially on the orchestra-led Glasgow reminiscence Barrowland Star, where they ask "Did we think those days would lat forever?"

Terry Staunton
Record Collector Magazine
January 2016

Both songs were played on the 4th January with Magic being simultaneously released as a single at the same time.

A video was also issued on the same day to promote the single.

Three versions of the song appeared: The full length album version appeared on Google, Amazon and other digital retailers and was available for purchase; an exclusive edit of the album version was used for the video; and a remixed edit was used for radio play and Spotify streaming.

The radio-friendly edit was remixed by Ash Howes.

It is expected that the limited edition 7" single released with some of the album bundles will be a physical pressing of Magic. The B-side is Direction Of The Heart.

Magic will be BBC Radio Two's Single Of The Week starting on Monday 15th January.

The Signal And The Noise was also first-played on Steve Lamacq's show. It has now been released as an official download, and is available on streaming services. It's just been issued as the album version - there are no edits or remixes.

Edittechnique have covered I Travel as an instrumental called We Travel. It's surprisingly good - BBC Radio 6 apparently have taken notice and given it airtime.

It was physically released on a 12" under the Magick Edit Allstars moniker. Details of the now sold-out 12" single can be found here which includes a link to a brief sample of the song.

Many thanks to Thib du Trois-Deux for the info.

In the sleeve notes of China Crisis' Flaunt the Imperfection deluxe edition, Gary Daly writes about Wall of God: "I think Eddie's guitar melody line is a stand out moment and very much influenced by Charlie Burchill's use of chorus and delay pedals."

Thanks to Darran Mustoe for the info.

Chris Evans gets first play of Magic on his Radio 2 breakfast show tomorrow (4th January). And Steve Lamacq will be premiering The Signal And The Noise later in the day on his Radio 6 show.

Both will be available on the BBC's iPlayer after broadcast.

Stuart Holland has collected together a massive photo archive of the band. There's lots of shots - including some I've never seen before.

It can be found on Google +

archives: news 1995 | news 1996 | news 1997 | news 1998 | news 1999 | news 2000 | news 2001 | news 2002 | news 2003 | news 2004 |
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news 2015 | news 2016 | news 2017 | news 2018
summary: timeline