WALK BETWEEN WORLDS
"NOW OVER TO JIM, WHO PREDICTS SOME SPARKLE IN THE RAIN..." SIMPLE MINDS THROW
CAUTION TO THE WIND ON THEIR 18TH ALBUM, A WEATHER-OBSESSED AFFAIR
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.
Classic Pop Magazine