Cry Articles & Reviews


Life In A Day
Real To Real Cacophony
Empires & Dance
Sons & Fascination
New Gold Dream
Sparkle In The Rain
Once Upon A Time
Live In The City Of Light
Hollywood Rock Festival
Nelson Mandela Concert
Street Fighting Years
Themes (Volumes 1-4)
Verona
Real Life
Glittering Prize 81/92
Good News The Next World
Néapolis
Neon Lights
The Best Of Simple Minds
Cry
Early Gold
Alive & Kicking Tour 2003
Summer Tour 2004
Silver Box
Black & White 050505
46664 Concert
30 Years Live Tour
Graffiti Soul

Cry

Richard Evans - www.remembertheeighties.com (UK)

 

It's been a long time since Simple Minds came out with new material, but the million dollar question is whether the wait has been worth it? Overall I'd say it has, but personally this isn't the Simple Minds record I was hoping for. Opening with the strongest track - and first single - 'Cry' the album gets off to a fine start.This is great Simple Minds fare - a gentle song, well sung and helped by suitably epic production, and although it's certainly not all downhill from here the mood for the album is very much set.

This is a very mellow collection, nice songs, competently performed and produced, but somehow lacking the essential urgency or passion that define Simple Minds' greatest moments. The Simple Minds magic that we all know and love rushes close to the surface a few times... on the U2-esque 'New Sunshine Morning', and 'Sleeping Girl' but isn't given the space to develop and vanishes as quickly as it arrived. Experiments with swirling ambient vocals and more dancey beats on 'One Step Closer' and 'Sugar' recall U2's flirtation with dance Zooropa style, and 'Disconnected' recalls the lazy somewhat chilled beats of The Beloved.

The album closes with a curiosity... a Vince Clarke number 'This Floating World' is pleasant enough but is desperately out of place here. A last minute addition perhaps, but odd. The sound of a band who know they need to credibly reinvent themselves a la U2, but haven't quite decided which direction to pursue, and can't quite commit to any one style. Not a bad record at all, but not a great record either, and that's what we need and expect from a band like Simple Minds.

 

 

Manchester Apollo 24th April 2002

manchesteronline (UK)

 

Simple Minds are one of those bands who were absolutely huge in the early-to-mid 80s yet are under the misapprehension that their loyal army of fans wants to hear new material.

They don't, of course, which is why big record companies could scarcely be less interested, even though new album Cry has the odd moment of note.

Yet Simple Minds' back catalogue contains some truly outstanding anthemic glories.

Soaring synthesiser-driven tracks such as Sanctify Yourself, Speed Your Love To Me, and the epic Waterfront, are songs which defined the pop landscape between the post-punk late 70s and pre-glam early 80s.

I hold my hands up, I was a bit of a fan then but wasn't particularly desperate to relive the era.

But, for all my misgivings, last night's shamelessly bombastic and reassuringly loud sold-out show was inexplicably enjoyable.

Vocalist Jim Kerr doesn't so much sing the notes, or at least those he can still reach, as dump them on the audience.

With his florid complexion, darting window-slat eyes, and neat side-parting, he looks more like a football manager than the front-man of a rock band.

He appeared to perform well within himself, yet still managed to look knackered at the end of the two-hour show.

The encore, a rousing Don't You (Forget About Me), had the crowd la-la-la-la-ing well after the band had shuffled off stage for a well-deserved drink.

 

 

Cry

As their appeal becomes more selective, the Minds move away from Stadium rock

David Stubbs - 'Uncut' Magazine May 2002 (UK)

 

Simple Minds' commerical decline in the mid-nineties was as precipitous as their critical decline in the mid-eighties. They're still hang-gliding in there, however, with this, their 17th album.

Jim Kerr describes the Minds as a "state of mind", and certainly, on the title track and single, there's a lingering sense of soaring across mental and emotional landscapes that reminds that this group were spiritual forerunners to The Verve. Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill have attempted to rejuvenate their sound with the help of Italian electronica merchants Planet Funk, most effectively on the Orb-esque 'One Step Closer'.

Overall, however, while it's heartening that Simple Minds have abandoned their windier stadium rock tendencies, this lacks the magisterial lightness of a New Gold Dream or Sons And Fascination.

 

 

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow 17th April 2002

Alastair Mabbott - 'Sunday Herald' (UK)

 

People have been sounding the death knell for Simple Minds for years now, apparently without noticing that they've achieved respectable chart placings throughout this supposed decline. So it's rough on Minds mainstays Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill that their first tour for seven years coincides with the new disc, Cry, registering barely a blip on the charts a fortnight after release. Cry shows latter-day Simple Minds to be, if not at the very top of their game, then at least on their way there, recapturing many of the qualities that made them special in the first place. And on this tour -- with the mighty Mel Gaynor back behind the drumkit -- they're touching base with every record they've made over the past 21 years.

This is a duo comfortable with its back catalogue, stacking the thunderous snare drums of the stadium years up against the textured Eurodisco of the early 1980s. Kicking off with the 20-year-old New Gold Dream, Kerr amends the lyrics '81-82-83-84' to 'zero-one, zero-two, zero-three, zero-four'. On the line 'He is my friend/To the bitter end', he wraps an arm round guitarist Burchill, and you can tell that he means it. Burchill is always given complete freedom to share Kerr's spotlight, and there's a triumphant feeling to be had watching them: two old chums who climbed to the top by sticking together.

Sporting the latest in a long line of questionable haircuts, and an even worse jacket, Kerr runs through his familiar poses: holding the mike-stand like a javelin, dropping to the floor with left arm outstretched -- but, it seems a less high-energy performance than those of seven years ago, taken at a more measured pace. 'Everything okay?' Kerr keeps asking the crowd, like a dad shouting up the stairs to his kids.

But Kerr's voice and the passion of his delivery haven't faded. Nor, despite received opinion, have the Minds' creative powers dwindled to a dot on the horizon. On One Step Closer they've almost perfected a synthesis of their two styles: enigmatic early-1980s groove (a ringer for Bowie's Fame, in fact) with a stadium-friendly chorus. On the other hand, also from the new album comes Face In The Sun, written entirely by Kerr's brother Mark. Adding it to the repertoire is a nice familial gesture, but it doesn't fit.

The American brings Glasgow to its feet, and Waterfront gets the vote for most popular Minds song ever. But honouring every stage of their post-indie career means the inclusion of ponderous numbers like This Is Your Land and Belfast Child, reminders of a stodginess in Simple Minds that can be wearing after two straight hours. And yet they also unveil Space, a song from the (reputedly brilliant) Our Secrets Are The Same, still unreleased due to a dispute with EMI. I t has an intriguing feel all of its own and whets the appetite for more of the same.

(3 out of 5)

 

 

Cry

www. nyrock.com (US)

 

Yep, they're still around. It's been, oh, 25 years or so, and chances are you remember some of their bigger hits like "(Don't You) Forget About Me" or "Alive and Kicking," songs that plastered the airwaves and brat-pack movies of yore. What you may not know is that the boys also charted a trio of numbers in the UK Top 20 throughout the '90s, with five of their albums entering the UK charts at number one. So, how do they fare in this new millennium?

Well, they've always had a penchant for big, swoopy songs that sound as if they were recorded in a stadium. This time around, the band adds a touch of electronica, not so much via the use of keyboards, but rather in the flavor of the material.

Much like the music of many electronic-keyboard-oriented bands, the songs on this disc consist of verses and choruses that often share the same chord structure, leaving little in the way of imaginative or creative music to evolve. What's the effect on the listener? Well, I'm afraid it drives me a bit batty. One aspect of pop songwriting that's important is movement, like, something should happen; one part of a composition should lead to another. Though, admittedly, it's not as necessary with dance music, because most listeners aren't really paying attention. They're just boogying to the beat.

Sure, some songs on the disc avoid this construction. "One Step Closer" sounds like the Simple Minds of old, though the keyboards are a bit heavy. As singer Jim Kerr tackles the chorus, vocals swell with a healthy dab of digital delay, and you may find yourself traipsing back to the glory days of the '80s, when the boys were in top form. "Face in the Sun," an acoustic ballad, stands out as well, given its contrast to the rest of the material. It builds, shedding its acoustic beginnings for something heavier, and the variety in the song is memorable.

"Cry," seems a strange title for the disc. Though the songs find an unusual influence in dance music and electronica, the band is still pop centered. Unfortunately, its attempt to reign in the mix doesn't always work. There's an unevenness throughout the songs, no melodies reach out and grab you, and unless you feel like dancing, the sounds and beats will pass you by. Wait, maybe "Cry" does make sense....

 

 

Manchester Apollo 25th April 2002

Dave Simpson - 'The Guardian' (UK)

 

In the delirium of Simple Minds's 1980s megastardom, Jim Kerr all but disowned their first six albums as an irrelevant preamble. The clubbers and the NME preferred the likes of Sons and Fascination, he sniped, but millions of fist-pumpers bought the later bombastic anthems tailored towards "the man at the back" of 80,000-seater stadiums.

Nowadays, the stadiums are long gone, the early albums have been rediscovered by the electronic/house scene, and public admiration of songs such as Alive and Kicking is virtually a criminal offence. Belatedly, Kerr appears to have recognised that the critics were right all along.

Half this show unlocks the Pandora's box of those early records, with no fewer than five plucked from the artistic zenith of 1982's New Gold Dream. As the likes of I Travel, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), The American and the Dada-dance of Love Song stretch out their electronic limbs for the first time in years, Simple Minds sound not rejuvenated but futuristic.

It is a major own goal not to include Theme for Great Cities, arguably the first-ever rave track, which was remodelled into a top five hit by Joey Negro as Raven Maize last year. But Kerr seems less in touch with current trends than with the nadirs of his own back catalogue. If there is anyone wishing to hear 1989's This Is Your Land, they keep a very low profile.

What many fans want, of course, are those stadium-hopping, beery self-celebratory anthems such as Sanctify Yourself. As they lumber forth, a spell of nervous twitching suddenly gives way to whole armies of fists in the air. Where have these people been all these years? Do we sit next to them on the bus?

You almost feel sorry for Kerr. He is armed with romantic masterpieces such as Glittering Prize (though he probably has no idea what made them good), but here he is performing bombastic horrors as dated as Thatcher's hairstyle. He cuts a humbler figure than the billowing-shirted arena monster who convinced the Stone Roses to sweep his like away, and when he thanks the crowd for "staying with us", seems sincere.

In a parallel universe, Simple Minds would be headlining Homelands over the Chemical Brothers, but the new material resolutely fails to grasp the lifejacket offered by clubland. In two hours, Simple Minds scale seemingly unreachable peaks and sink into head-shakingly uncomfortable troughs. This show is a microcosm of their career.

(3 out of 5)

 

 

International Arena, Cardiff 22nd April 2002

Simple Minds - still Alive and Kicking

Rob Holmes - 'The Western Mail' (UK)

 

During the early '80s they were unstoppable, selling records by the truckload and filling arenas all over the world. Once on a par with their Celtic contemporaries U2, Simple Minds' brand of grandiose stadium rock has often been used as a stick to beat them with.

The Scottish band now based around Jim Kerr on vocals and Charlie Burchill on guitar are celebrating a 25-year career with the recent release of their new album Cry and a tour.

They opened their Cardiff show with New Sunshine Morning and One Step Closer - a brave move considering the unfamiliarity of the songs.

But when the hits started flowing there was no let-up. Belfast Child, their only number one hit single led us into the timeless Waterfront.

Then came the encores She's a River and the title track from Cry, possibly the best song they've written for a decade.

Considering their commercial dis-appearance in the '90s, the ironically titled Don't You Forget About Me was the highlight.

Forever a live favorite, Alive and Kicking was a fitting climax.

 

 

International Arena, Cardiff 22nd April 2002

Alive and kicking...just

'South Wales Echo' (UK)

 

Not exactly Celtic playing at home - but plenty of `home' fans made it almost a Glasgow night for the boys from Toryglen, that circle of streets just a hefty Alan Rough kick away from Hampden.

Trouble was, not being a Simple Mind (if that's what their fans are called) I felt a wee bit left out.

Despite the large number of empty seats, there was a fair enough atmosphere to greet the band's opening shot, New Gold Dream.

My mind (simple with a small 's') was elsewhere, though.

Was this Jim Kerr? The Mr Hynde/Kensit from the gossip columns?

Take note, ma dear laddie, there's something called growing old gracefully - growing your hair longish and pluckin' the eyebrows it ain't.

However, The American, Love Song, Someone Somewhere and Don't You Forget About Me was enough to keep the faithful happy.

My main gripe was that the obviously talented Charlie Burchill is wasted in a band like Simple Minds. He must crave a Zappa-esque solo piece?

By the time Alive and Kicking kicked, I was tired of it all. Something called going out at the top is an intelligent choice, obviously beyond Simple Minds.

 

 

Brighton Centre 29th April 2002

Andrew Fisher - 'The Argus' (UK)

 

Simple Minds' crowd-pleasing anthems helped define commercial rock in the mid-Eighties, selling truckloads on both sides of the Atlantic.

By the end of that decade, their grand, romantic sound, designed for stadiums rather than night clubs, was as uncool as Roland Rat.

But Simple Minds were in it for the long haul. After a four-year break, they are now promoting a new album, Cry, largely written by original guitarist Charlie Burchill.

Played live, the title track (out as a single) reveals itself as a sensational pop tune. Cleverly worked around a Northern Soul groove, topped by a blinding chorus, it is a completely unexpected treat.

The rest of the new material is much less memorable but the audience didn't mind. It was not what they came to hear.

The atmosphere was subdued until the first of the proud, lush epics that brought Simple Minds their huge following.

The volume was cranked up for Waterfront, singer Jim Kerr successfully urged the crowd to join in, hoisting the mic stand triumphantly and indulging in a trademark shimmy across the stage.

The Glaswegian always had a floating, flamboyant stage presence, and was still able to pull off all the old moves, including high kicks and back-drops.

Thankfully, he had made one important change: Leather trousers and flouncy shirts had given way to tasteful, low-key alternatives.

When he crouched to touch hands with fans near the front of the stage, he didn't seem as dazzled by his own brilliance as he once did.

We also got lesser-known songs from their early post-punk years - songs Jim Kerr had practically disowned by 1985 and which sounded less dated than the overblown Sanctify Yourself, for example.

The first two singles, The American (1981) and Life In A Day (1979), were performed cannily. Their keyboard-led subtlety, inspired by Kraftwerk was, for me, the most engaging part of the entire set.

Suddenly, the clashing symbols and vocal flourishes were gone, replaced by thoughtful, sparse rhythms and tight melodies that got straight to the point.

There were some very dull moments as well, not least during the plodding sentimentality of This Is Your Land and Belfast Child.

But these didn't last long and the overall mood was one of nostalgic celebration.

The band came back for two varied encores. After a couple more new ones, including the drug-themed Spaceface and one unfamiliar punk thrash, a rousing Alive And Kicking provided a sweeping, optimistic finale.

(4 out of 5)

 

 

The Metro, Chicago July 1st 2002

Andy Argyrakis - www.concertlivewire.com (US)

 

You forgot about the Simple Minds, didn't you? I know I did. Most likely, 1985's Once Upon a Time was the last you actually remember hearing worthwhile music from the group. (Don't even bother talking about their re-surfacing ten years later with Good News From the Next World. That earned about as much productive attention as the ill-fated Tears for Fears comeback or Duran Duran's pointless covers album from the same year).

Apparently, the Simple Minds are back with yet another new album and tour, marking their first trip to America since touting the minor hit "She's a River" seven years ago. Their latest project and subsequent tour is called Cry, but judging by their performance of several tracks from the disc at their Metro engagement, there's nothing new here. Granted, the material doesn't sound as dated as their synthesizer driven pop from the '80s, but Jim Kerr's stadium filling vocal projections have yet to grow out of the "I wish I was Bono" stage.

Kerr was obviously uncomfortable with the size of the tiny stage given his jittery movements, and although the crowd seemed to respond to every mannerism, I'm sure the band was embarrassed playing the small club after rocking major arenas a decade and a half earlier. The first half of the two hour, 20 song set could very well have been left out entirely, considering it was filled with mostly new songs and less recognizable backlist material. Even the cuts, like the opening clamor of "New Gold Dream" to the easily looked over "Hypnotized," to the overdrawn "Ghostdancing," went nowhere.

The glittering prizes came during the second half, from the seasonally appropriate "Someone Somewhere in the Summertime" to the Amnesty anthem "Belfast Child" to the dynamic "Waterfront." But just as the band began to strike gold, they sunk to their ultimate low of the evening, performing a longer than necessary, disdainful version of their Breakfast Club hit "Don't You (Forget About Me)." Kerr in particular looked miserable singing the lyrics for the 80 billionth time while his egging of the crowd to sing along to the soundtrack smash was the epitome of insincerity.

Before I could give up hope entirely, the group renewed their fading ingenuity by blasting out a triple threat finale of "Promised You a Miracle," "Sanctify Yourself," and "Alive and Kicking." The combination of such classics from the by-gone synth pop era was a bundle of fun and reminded the crowd of the band's peak years of recording.

Upon exiting the venue, a Metro staff member spoke of how the Simple Minds sold more tickets than the INXS tour (minus the late Michael Hutchence) that hit town two weeks prior. As unimpressed as I was by that feat, I chuckled later when I found that much of those additional sales were most likely fueled by the sponsoring radio station's "buy one get one free" online promotion.

I'm sorry to say that the majority in Chicago have indeed forgotten about Simple Minds and didn't take the time to get reacquainted at the Metro. My apologies to Kerr and company on behalf of that constituency. Please don't cry.

 

 

Nottingham Royal Concert Hall 26th April 2002

Nigel Bell - 'Nottingham Review' (UK)

 

All hail the return of the synthesiser as Scotland's Simple Minds prove you shouldn't be afraid to live in the 80's.

While fellow 80's popstars like Belinda Carlisle and the remnants of Spandau Ballet have to make do with joint cabaret style tours to keep the flame burning, Jim Kerr must be happy with his lot. He might not be selling albums in their bucket loads but his band Simple Minds still take some rivalling as a live act.

In their heyday the Minds challenged the likes of U2. In a live venue, Kerr and co. could still challenge Bono and the boys.

Quite simply, they came, they saw and they conquered Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall.

It's a long time since I've had to stand for the whole of a concert but from the opening strains of New Gold Dream, the 40-something audience rose and never sat down. "Come on everyone, do the Jim dance".

And there was little time to catch your breath. Jim's rapport with the crowd was limited to "are you okay?" and "you're a great crowd."

Few words but just what the audience wanted to hear. Kerr's stage presence means he need do little more than the Jim Kerr dance, wink a few times and shake hands with adoring fans.

He's still Mr Charisma.

With a new album out (Cry) you'd have expected a mix of new and old material.

That wasn't the case. Only one new song was performed (One Step Closer).

This was wall to wall hits from start to finish. Indeed it was only when I got home I realised they hadn't performed Promised You A Miracle.

I was worried when the band slowed things down with Belfast Child but the song was embraced by the crowd and became a veritable singalong.

Other highlights included Ghost Dancing, Don't You (Forget About Me) and Life In A Day, which I never thought the Minds would perform.

If there was a gripe it's that the sound was pretty muffled.

It didn't really spoil my evening. There was plenty going on on stage and off - hats off to the woman a couple of rows in front of me who seemed to know all the moves to the Simple Minds hits and who's dancing was a cross between Kerr and Toyah.

 

 

Cry

www.canoe.ca (Canada)

 

Veteran synth pop act Simple Minds follow their album of inspiring covers, 2001's Neon Lights, with a mostly inspired studio album of entirely new material.

Although only two original members remain -- singer-songwriter Jim Kerr and guitarist-keyboardist Charlie Burchill -- there are glimpses of the Scottish group's '80s heyday within this 12-track collection. And really, Kerr and Burchill were always the group's braintrust.

The epic-sounding numbers Spaceface, New Sunshine Morning, One Step Closer, Sugar and Sleeping Girl are particularly dance-floor-worthy, while the more stripped-down Lazy Lately and Cry Again are definitely worth a listen. Not nearly as well executed are the acoustic guitar number Face In The Sun, the disjointed Disconnected and Slave Nation, and the album-ending throwaway instrumental The Floating World.

 

 

The Grove, Anaheim 6th June 2002

www.plume-noire.com (US)

 

It was definitely back to 80's glory as Simple Minds offered a smooth and generous show led by charismatic frontman Jim Kerr. Touring in support of their new hypnotic effort, Cry, in an unexpected good move the band focused on their two landmark albums from the 80's: New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain rather than going for an easy post-"Don't You" singles set.

Led by the core duo of singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill and supported by long-time drummer Mel Gaynor, the band offered a varied performance whose sound alternated between 80's electro, classic rock and modern electronic music. Jim Kerr's voice was as suave as ever as he took a genuine pleasure in sharing with the audience, while Charlie Burchill shelled nervous guitar riffs supported by Mel Gaynor's accurate pitch. The keyboardist supplied the old synth sounds and electronic texture discreetly while the bassist gave a strong performance.

Unfortunately, during the first three songs Kerr's voice was under-mixed and could hardly be heard as it was covered by the bass. This was rather unsurprising given that the venue was the infamous Grove (the former Sun, new name, same owners), that has built its reputation as an overpriced venue that forces its patrons into dinner-concert packages featuring expensive, bad food (unless in pure Plume Noire fashion, you get front-row seats).

The show opened with favorite "New Gold Dream" and other new wave classics from the early 80's followed, including a joyful "Promised You A Miracle", a strong "Waterfront", a sexy "Someone, Somewhere in Summertime", a soft "Big Sleep", a sumptuous "Love Song", "Glittering Prize" and the instrumental "Theme for Great Cities". Their 90's era was pretty much skipped with only rare stops: a potent "See the Lights" and a driving "She's a River", though unfortunately omitting The Street Fighting Years.

From their latest work only the catchy "Spaceface" was performed along with the gripping "One Step Closer". Surprisingly, they didn't play their new single, "Cry", while the precedent Neapolis was also ignored. Their most commercial album, Once Upon A Time, took over the end of the show, with "Sanctify Yourself " and the anthems "Don't You" and "Alive & Kicking" with the crowd singing (and sometimes screeching) along. Just like the Daniel Ash concert, middle-aged O.C.women took to the stage during the finale, surrounding Kerr and Burchill, though obviously neither to their pleasure nor ours - a fairly annoying trend in "trendy" O.C.

While their performance was certainly not the powerful delivery of fellow bands Depeche Mode and U2, Simple Minds offered a solid, warm and crowd-pleasing show.

 

 

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow 17th April 2002

Billy Sloan - 'Scottish Sunday Mail' (UK)

 

If you were to ask Simple Minds' legion of fans to name their favourite period in their 25-year career, I bet most would choose the era of New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84).

While the Scots supergroup have enjoyed more commercially-successful peaks, it's the classic New Gold Dream which epitomises their fusion of experimental rock and Euro disco.

How refreshing that the Minds' impressive latest album, Cry is a successor to that studio landmark. To see Simple Minds live in 2002 is like going back to the future, for they seem to have a hunger for gigging again.

The set kicks off with the explosive New Gold Dream... a song once a surefire banker encore in gigs gone by. "He is my friend until the bitter end," sings Jim Kerr, arm around guitarist Charlie Burchill.. cementing one of pop's most productive partnerships. The Minds have been wrongle written off as some kind of Eighties period piece. But as they move seamlessly into New Sunshine Morning and One Step Closer, the band dispel that myth. Both songs come from the new album and despite a 20-year gap with New Gold Dream, there's a real connection.

The outstanding One Step Closer is archetypal Simple Minds, though dance acts like Leftfield ot The Chemical Brothers would be proud to call it their own. It seems okay for Oasis to flag up influences suach as The Beatles and Small Faces, then re-invent their sound to give it a more modern feel. Strange then that the Minds are accused of being retro-rockers for nodding in the direction of such music visionaries as Kraftwerk, Magazine and Giorgio Moroder.

The band use their classic back catalogue and we're treated to the Studio 54 strains of Love Song, plus The American and Don't You Forget ABout Me. In the vocal refrain of Up On The Catwalk - in which Kerr sings the names of his influences - we get: "Like Deodato... and Martin Luther... Robert De Niro... and Henrik Larsson." The new band line-up includes bassist Eddie Duffy and keyboards player Andy Gillespie, who both perform with confidence.

Lurking up the back of the stage is the true heavyweight champion of the world - drummer Mel Gaynor. To see this powerhouse perform on Sanctify Yourself is worth the admission price alone. But it's Burchill who is the Minds' music driving force. In Someone Somewhere In Summertime, he's at his fluid melodic best. While his slashing, metallic play on Speed Your Love To Me or a stunning Ghostdancing has revitalised both songs.

As it's opening night - of their first tour in five years - there are expected missed cues and slack intros. In addition, songs like War Babies and Let There Be Love create definite blips on the quality control radar. Throughout, Kerr is in fine form. he's singing with a new deep richness in his voice and looking good too.

Some critics will still try to write the Minds off. Don't you believe it. They've never had a more contemporary edge - that's why they're one of rock's most sampled acts on the dance scene.

The brilliant closing number perfectly sums up Simple Minds in 2002... Alive and Kicking.

 

 

Royal Albert Hall, London 2nd May 2002

Brony Hale - 'Ceefax' (UK)

 

Don't You Forget About Me, sang Simple Minds' Jim Kerr some 20 years ago. The audience that packed out London's Royal Albert Hall certainly hadn't.

It is the first major UK tour the Scottish rock band has performed in seven years, and as long since they played at a major venue in London.

Dressed in a white shirt and black jeans, Kerr's voice was as strong as ever, although a few karate kicks and dodgy dance moves let him down.

The appeal of the 80's band to their faithful fans was still going strong, but their lack of appeal to the younger generation was painfully obvious.

Before going on tour, Kerr said he expected to see a number of spreading bellies and balding heads in the crowd.

There seemed to be few signs of anything else - with many of the audience pushing 50. Songs from the new album Cry - released last month - were warmly welcomed and applauded.

The new album was well received but it was not until the old favourites Belfast Child and Waterfront were played that the crowd really got going.

The nine-song encore consisted entirely of their old hits, sending the audience wild with Sanctify Yourself before finishing the evening with Alive And Kicking.

The Floating World tour will end it's UK run in May, before going global later this year. It is supported by the Liverpundlian group, the Real People.

 

 

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow 17th April 2002

John Williamson - 'Glasgow Herald' (UK)

 

With a compilation of recent electro bootlegs providing the pre-show entertainment, it is obvious that Simple Minds aim to reclaim the musical highground of their early years - a victory for the fans who subscribe to the theory that they "lost it" around the time of tonight's symbolic opening song, New Gold Dream.

It is a high-risk strategy that could leave the middle-aged remnants of the original line-up - Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill - looking very stupid indeed in their attempts to recapture their youth.

The intent of turning back time is given added credence by Kerr's appearance with what, once again, looks like a full head of hair, Burchill's apparant immunity from ageing, and a stage set that could have been built for Top Of The Pops in the early eighties. All that is missing is Dave Lee Travis and Joe Dolce. By 9.15 we have already heard The American, Love Song and Up On The Catwalk, and, though largely backward looking, it is not entirely devoid of surprise or the odd moment of cloying sentimentality.

The performance is surprisingly sprightly and some cognisance is made of the step down from arenas to theatres in the seven years since their last tour. Indeed New Gold Dream is updated to acknowledge the two decades that have passed since it was written.

Of course, the temptation to fall back into stadium-pleasing cliches raises its head on occasion, and the lack of recognition afforded their post - 1995 output tells it's own story.

They have stepped back from their self-parody period and compared with their recent compositions, the likes of Waterfront, Glittering Prize and Don't You Forget About Me sounds well constructed pop songs.

All this serves it's main purpose - a fond look over the shoulder for a generation of Glaswegians reared with the Minds as the city's major cultural export. It remains fundamentally flawed. For all the earnestness, bluster and laboured emotion at the core Simple Minds are a humourless and largely meaningless vacum.

 

 

Cry

James McNair - 'Q' Magazine (UK)

 

These are testing times for Simple Minds. After last year's bewildering album of techno-rock cover-versions, this, their first original album in four years, is  a disappointing concoction of half-baked ideas and stale ingredients.  Listening to B-side-standard tracks such as The Floating World, one can only conclude that stylised Euro-disco isn't Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill's forte.

On Spaceface and New Sunshine Morning, Kerr's lyrics say nothing grandiosely, while Slave Nation is a tired 12-bar blues. The single Cry is much better, but the inclusion of two versions only serves to cement a sense of creative stalemate. Seems that, in jettisoning a band set-up, Kerr and Burchill have stripped their music of its spark.

(2 out of 5)

 

 

Cry

Jane Stevenson - 'Toronto Sun' (Canada)

 

Veteran synth pop act Simple Minds follow their album of inspiring covers, 2001's Neon Lights, with a mostly inspired studio album of entirely new material. Although only two original members remain - singer-songwriter Jim Kerr and guitarist-keyboardist Charlie Burchill - there are glimpses of the Scottish group's '80s heyday within this 12-track collection. And really, Kerr and Burchill were always the group's braintrust.

The epic-sounding numbers Spaceface, New Sunshine Morning, One Step Closer, Sugar and Sleeping Girl are particularly dance-floor-worthy, while the more stripped-down Lazy Lately and Cry Again are definitely worth a listen. Not nearly as well executed are the acoustic guitar number Face In The Sun, the disjointed Disconnected and Slave Nation, and the album-ending throwaway instrumental The Floating World.

 

 

Cry

Brett Rudolph - 'Music Tap' (US)

 

Would you believe it has been twenty six years since Simple Minds starting making music? When I started doing this review, I though, hmmmm, Simple Minds, I remember when I was a kid and listened to them, and now, here I am again. Now I can't honestly say why I ever stopped, probably stupidity, but then, everyone is entitled to that once in awhile.

Anyway, their album Cry has really caught my attention to be sure. Not only is the music wonderful but the effects heard within the music are great from supplemental vocals to synthesized sounds. They are as much a part of the songs as the lead vocals themselves, which sometimes is no easy task and usually ends up sounding more like superimposed mush.

This album was released by Eagle Records, a company devoted to bringing new releases from some of the most popular and newly popular recording artists and groups. It comes in hybrid stereo SACD format which really means you get two albums for the price of one. The first one is the standard red-book or CD version that is compatible with virtually and component that can play a CD. The second version, the stereo SACD version, contains all the same songs, but with far better resolution and fidelity.

The CD layer could easily be one of the best I have heard from Simple Minds and many other groups for that matter. The music is genuinely well recorded, mixed and performed. The album can be played at any volume level you wish and there is no loss of sonic quality that sometimes comes when an album is made for playing really loudly on a fairly poor quality system or car stereo.

Although it is difficult to pick a track that I liked more than another to actually review, I settled on number six, "Disconnected." I will admit that the lyrics are definitely apropos to the song, but not the feeling you get when you listen to it. In fact, the spatial realism is so great that you could easily close your eyes and imagine the music being performed live, before your very eyes. The stereo playback is so intense it not only allows for the creation of a soundstage in front of you, but throughout the entire room.

As good as the CD version is, it pales in comparison to the SACD version, and believe me, I might not have thought that even possible without hearing it for myself. However, the improved sonic performance combined with the enhanced ability to recreate even the slightest detail makes it a definite improvement on all the tracks. I found that the tracks that have little subtle sounds, especially when they are directed at one side of the soundstage or the other were the most improved.

For example on track two, "Spaceface," you can hear not only the same level of detail as before, but substantially more. As certain secondary lyrics or musical sounds are presented to the listener through one channel or the other, they become more realistic and integrate better into the overall presentation. In fact they do it so well that the meaning itself might become even more evident as you listen to the song itself, but then you need to actually buy the album to decide for yourself.

Ultimately everyone has their own taste in music and performances. This nice thing about Cry is that there is plethora of styles to choose from. While the genre itself might not change, the songs means and presentations vary quite widely, so not enjoying one song in no way means you won't like another. In fact, while I admittedly enjoyed all the cuts, I can see where someone might enjoy one over the other.

This is one album that would be hard to find fault with if I were even willing to try, but I am not. In fact, while I normally don't write many reviews about albums that don't fall in the classical, jazz or blues genre, and this album has caused me to reconsider that position. If you are a fan of Simple Minds, perhaps like me were a fan ages ago, or are just looking for a disc with some great music that sounds amazing, you really should go to the store and pick this one up.

 

 

Cry

www.plume-noire.com (US)

 

Unlike U2 and Depeche Mode, Simple Minds couldn't survive the 90's. They're mainly remembered for their Eighties hit "Don't You" from the Breakfast Club soundtrack. Following the release of a succession of rather unnoticed and forgettable albums, the band is back with Cry, its most satisfying work since the Street Fighting Years back in 1989.

Once a pioneer of synthetic music with classics such as New Gold Dream and Sparkle in the Rain, the band had relegated keyboards to the background from the mid-80's to the mid-90's before going back to electronic music with the unconvincing Neapolis and Neon Lights.

While not flawless, Cry puts Simple Minds back on track. The album opens with "Cry" a bewitching single whose keyboards take you back to New Gold Dream with a sound that's trendy again thanks to the new electro wave. "Spaceface" is a signature catchy track on which Jim Kerr's voice slides perfectly. While "New Sunshine Morning" doesn't really stand out, the following track, "One Step Closer", grips you. The band goes acoustic on the mellow "Face in the Sun" before reconnecting you with techno-pop through the contagious and fluid "Disconnected". "Lazy lately" and "Sugar" aren't icing on the cake but "Sleeping Girl" is like an old girlfriend from the 80's that you don't want to let go. "Cry Again", an acoustic version of "Cry", plays it well on the soft side. You won't be chained to "Slave Nation" but the instrumental "The Floating World" is a welcome technoish ending that is reminiscent of the "Theme For Great Cities".

Now that every keyboard geek in town is playing with his clavinova, why not give Simple Minds the chance they deserve with Cry?

 

 

Cry

'Bandhunt.com' (UK)

 

The music business is loaded with the same set of politics as any other and more often than not the wrong indiviuals are glorified. For the Scottish group Simple Minds, they have certainly been lost in the shadow of less talented groups,sitting outside the white picket fence of commercial success. While their Irish counterparts U2 have recieved the lion' share of attention for being both musically edgy and politically charged, Simple Minds have lived with the perception of being - at least in North America, cult icons with the career high point being 1985 and the Top Ten single "Dont You Forget About Me" from the Breakfast Club soundtrack and follow up success with the powerhouse album "Once Upon A Time" in 1986. Though somewhat inconsistent in recent years,U2 have still reaped the benefits from the fruits of their labor with Grammy awards,crtical praise for still being relevant, inordinate amounts of attention despite their recent comedy of musical errors on their resume. Case and points have been "Rattle and Hum", an ill- fated attemt to cover already worn out American blues standards, and erratic performances on the electronically inspired "Zooropa" and "Pop" albums.

On the other end of spectrum, Simple Minds, without advance billing,have released,since the success of "Once Upon A Time",Street Fighting Years, Real Life, Good News From The Next World", and 1998's "Neapolis". The array of solid material here deserved a better look and the Glasgow based outfit deliver once again with another package of goodies with one of 2002's most under-rated projects,"Cry".

Conceived and recorded in Scotland, England, and Italy, 'Cry" offers an array of social electronica, political trademarks of reality and a brighter side that is emblematic of the band's song- writing approach.

Line-up wise, drummer Mel Gaynor's on again off again recording and touring relationship with singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill is off, for he is absent on this record.The omission of a drummer as fluid and talented as Gaynor would seem to spell disaster, but Burchill,along with producer Gordy Goude, Pat Lego,and Dino Maggiorana, brilliantly strike a balance with drum fills as evidenced on "New Sunshine Morning and "Cry", and supremely produced programming.

The assualt begins with the title track, and progresses with the bright tinge of "Spaceface", the galatic tone of "One Step Closer", the bridging of traditional acoustic riff with new technology " Lazy Lately",and the monster bass-line and futuristic funk of "Sugar",arguably the best track on "Cry". A strong case for top honors can also be made for the slow and hynotic "Slave Nation", which canters slowly and builds into a nice trot, culminating with a trademark thought- provoking vocal riff from Kerr himself.

When you sum up the totality of smart production, depth of song- writing, and the efforthless marriage of synthesizers with the traditional weapons, "Cry" is as one of the most well- crafted projects foating around in the current marketplace. Any individual who considers him or herself as a connoisseur of music that likes to dance and / or listen to music with a message with scintillating originality to boot,"Cry" fits the profile. I would seem to be a done deal that any fan of U2 and their recent forays into electronica,with the best effort being "Achtung Baby", would find this record to be right up their alley. "Cry" slots into the elite group of Simple Minds albums.

(5 out of 5)

 

 

Inside the mind of... Jim Kerr

Kate Bussmann - 'The Times' 6th April 2002

 

Simple Minds waited nearly a quarter of a century before releasing their greatest hits album last year - but it wasn't a swan song. In fact, Jim Kerr and co show no signs of slowing down. Their first album of new material since 1998, Cry (Eagle Rock), is out this month, and a tour kicks off in their home town of Glasgow on April 17th. But for Kerr, 43, music is no longer everything. There's his house in Sicily - where he spends a hefty chunk of his time - and then there are his three children: James, 10, his on by his ex-wife Patsy Kensit; and Yasmin, 17, and stepdaughter Natalie, 19, both from his previous marriage to Chrissie Hynde,

What's on your mind at the moment?

There's no doubt that it's the upcoming few months. We haven't toured for - I can't remember now - five, six or seven years? The opportunity to go on tour again feels like a bit of a bonus.

What keeps you motivated?

There were a few years during which I'd grown very distant from the music. Much as I love doing what we do, after a couple of decades there's a point at which everything becomes too familiar and you're going through the motions. I felt that point encroaching, but rather than see it through and quit, I put things on ice instead. Then once I did feel the urge to write again, it was nice coming back to it.

Who in your family are you closet to?

I'm very close to my parents. I'd like to think I'm close to my kids, but right now I'm probably closer to my son than my daughters in as much as they are teenagers and growing up and shaping their own lives. With my son, who's 10, I'm still involved in most of the things he's doing.

What are your memories of School?

They're all pretty pleasent. I enjoyed my childhood and I enjoyed Glasgow at that time. The classes were very overcrowded, though - the teachers didn't have much of a chance. And I wasn't a particularly great student - I'd do well one year then slack off the next. I'd sort of yo-yo.

What do you value most in your friendships?

I think that the first thing has to be loyalty, because if you don't have that, then it's over. Charlie Burchill, who also plays in the band, and I have known each other since we were eight - we've grown up together through the realms of the band. We have some spectacular rucks, but we certainly know when and how to give each other space. To have a friendship that's lasted over three decades is pretty remarkable.

What has experience taught you about making a relationship work?

[laughs] Try being there! Touring certainly hasn't helped in my case. The kind of relationships in which you depend on each other are just impossible if you're unable to be around for long periods of time.

How do you cope with stress?

Not very well. In fact I deny it. I always feel that I'm very privileged anyway, so no matter what's on my plate, my thing is that I'm really lucky to be doing this. These days I prioritise things in terms of their importance in the grand scheme of things.

How health-conscious are you?

Very, right now. I have this great motivation, which is 'We've got to play!', and that does require a level of fitness. it's weird, this week I was laid low with terrible flu, and it made me think about what it must be like for people with long-term illnesses - how do you deal with that? It makes you think, I'm gonna try and get maximum health.

What gives you pleasure?

So many things now; small things, like a cup of coffee and the sunshine. And obviously I get pleasure from my loved ones, knowing them and being involved with them. Then there's my work - making music and playing it is first and foremost a pleasurable experience.

How do you cope with loss?

I haven't had any dramatic loss yet. I don't really see things like marriages failing as losses; I see them as moving on to different places. Especially when there are kids involved - you have to make it work on another level. My attitude is shaped by good fortune, but also, I think, a postive outlook. Whereas others might have started a band, and after their first dozen rejections thought, 'Well, that's that,' we had this sense of mission. We definitely had this idea that there's something else out there and we should try and get our hands on it. Like Madonna - is she the best singer, dancer or writer on the planet? Not at all. Did she desire it more than anybody else? Probably. And therein lies the difference.

Is there anything you regret?

I wish I'd learned four languages at 16! That's the kind of thing I regret, rather than a relationship or something. Regretting relationships means holding on - you've got to let them go.

What's next for you?

The next few months are all about music. Writing music is one thing, but actually standing up on stage and performing nightly all over the world... Taking public something that really, when you were working on it, was quite private. You just hope that it works for others.

 

 

Don't you forget about... Jim

Jim Kerr, 42, is the front man for '80s rock band Simple Minds, now touring again after an extended sabatical. A former plumber from Glasgow, he has two high-profile ex-wives - Chrissie Hynde and Patsy kensit - and an Italian girlfriend almost 20 years his junior.

Stuart Husband - 'Mail On Sunday' 17th March 2002 (UK)

 

Is this a Frank Sinatra-style comeback?

I guess so. We sort of missed out on the '90s. We never quit or retired, but around three years ago we came close; I felt the commitment had gone. Now the fun's come back.

So it's still a thrill?

Oh aye. We've still got it. But now we're trying to enjoy our lives as well as our work. Music used to be the only thing in my life - well, along with girls.

Did you concentrate too much on the band at the expense of your personal life?

It's pretty nuts to go into a relationship if you're constantly on tour. But I married Chrissie when I was 24. I thought it was important to put those foundations down. It was naive.

It probably didn't help that you went to an all-boys school...

I hadn't had a proper relationship before I met Chrissie. And marrying Chrissie Hynde wasn't like marrying the girl next door. It was challenging, which was what I loved about it initially.

Was it the same with Patsy Kensit?

Sure. Both times it was just, 'Wow! This is fantastic. Wouldn't it be great to build a life out of this feeling?' Sadly, those feelings don't last.

Do you blame rock 'n' roll for your failed marriages?

Well, plenty of marriages fall apart without rock 'n' roll being involved. I have a Japanese friend who says that in the West we tend to marry who we love rather than who's good for us.

But you seem to be at peace with your ex-wives.

When there are kids involved you have to tey and keep things positive.

Did you worry for the safety of your son James when Patsy shacked up with Liam Gallagher?

Not at all. He and Liam got on great.

You've got two teenage daughters [Yasmin, 17, and Natalie, 19]. What are they like?

They're highly opinionated, cynical, metropolitan kids. And they're fantastic.

What do your daughters think of Dad's music?

I think they regard all pop and rock as a bit naff. But, you know, the pony lessons have to be paid for somehow.

Is it true that you always hated 'Don't You Forget About Me'?

It was the only song we ever did that we didn't write and it turned into a huge hit. I think ambivalence is the best way to describe how I feel about it.

Will you be playing it on tour?

Oh, of course. It's the song that kicked it wide open for us. People expect it and we provide a service. If you want to entertain yourself, stay at home.

Could you still plumb in a loo, if pushed?

I've got the old tools. A plumber will always have work. Except me - I was the world's worst.

Aren't you a hotelier now?

Yeah, I've brought a place in Sicily. I imagine I'll relocate there in the future. And I won't have any bands wrecking it either. I'm bolting the TVs to the floor.

Not very rock 'n' roll, is it?

You mean drugs, rehab, early death? We never bought into that. I saw Michael Hutchence just before he died - he wanted to live that myth, and it killed him.

How did turning 40 feel?

Good. I like my age; I like the experience I've piled up. I've been seeing my girlfriend for a year and we're doing fine. One thing I've learned is that you don't go looking for 'the One'. You might find the One for four years, then another One for seven years.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

That, as Simple Minds, we don't take ourselves too seriously. We're too long in the tooth for that sort of thing.

 

 

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