X5
Fiona Shepherd - 'The Scotsman' - 20th February 2012 (UK)


Bobby Gillespie knows it, the Manic Street Preachers know it, nouveau goths The Horrors, The Twilight Sad and Sons & Daughters all know it, and so do Simple Minds and even Simple Minds' mums – early Minds is best.


Eventually, the band gorged too much on The Breakfast Club and it all turned to stadium flab, but those lean, hungry years around the turn of the 1980s when they couldn't get arrested but produced their most groundbreaking and, as it has turned out, enduring work are the focus of this box set, which gathers together the first five albums (six if you count Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call as separate works), and an accompanying mini-tour which will call in this Saturday at the sacred Barrowland.


X5 keeps things nice and trim. There's only a modicum of bonus material, comprising rarely heard contemporary tracks or extended versions from the halcyon days of the 12-inch single. The point is to revisit the albums themselves, which represent a substantial and absorbing journey conducted over a mere four years.


Simple Minds' 1979 debut album Life In A Day is entirely in thrall to Roxy Music, with its audacious glam synthesizer backdrop and a sparing dash of saxophone here and there. Their contemporaries Magazine, another bunch of ex-punks who quickly got bored with the three-chord thrash, had beaten them to the exotic, experimental post-punk baton by a year. With the bouncy US-style new wave of Sad Affair and new romantic pop of early single Chelsea Girl, Life In A Day sounds like the brighter, poppier flipside to Magazine's creepy paranoia. That said, Murder Story's urgent stabbing bassline was echoed later that year in Joy Division's Transmission.

The album was reviewed in the NME under the headline Secondhand Simplicity but was praised as being "importantly timeless". Positions were quickly redrawn seven months later as follow-up Real To Real Cacophony took a musical quantum leap forward, but Life In A Day still sounds accessible, imaginative and dynamic, like a good debut should.


Although Jim Kerr was still channelling Howard Devoto on the lean funk likes of Premonition, Simple Minds were becoming their own band on Real To Real Cacophony, giving free rein to their experimental impulses on the hectic jabber of Naked, the scratchy sonic safari of Veldt – a hungry cousin to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk – and the demented carousel keyboards and Station To Station-era guitars of Carnival (Shelter in a Suitcase). They were never to sound quite like this again.


Their next album, Empires And Dance, released almost a year later in September 1980, opens with the unstoppable, ecstatic I Travel, a totalitarian disco mix of Moroder and Marx, which still sounds utterly glorious more than 30 years on. The rest of the album is a mostly brooding Europhile affair, blatantly influenced by the chattering krautrock pulse of Can, Bowie's Berlin trilogy and the noble pretension of The Doors.


There was then a change of record label (from Arista to Virgin) and producer (from John Leckie to Steve Hillage) for the double bill Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call. Love Song is the highlight of the first set, with its seductive synth 'n' bass judder and searing guitar interjections, though moody instrumental bonus track The Earth That You Walk Upon is a study in flickering neon, while the portentous torch song Seeing Out The Angel sounds like a bridge from their left-field roots to their mainstream future.


From Sister Feelings Call, the expansive instrumental Theme For Great Cities remains a great period piece, while The American was their biggest number to date. Titles such as League of Nations and 20th Century Promised Land shouted their stadium aspirations. Back in Glasgow, fringes flopped and guitars jangled in opposition to this bombast, and a whole other fertile scene was born.


By the time New Gold Dream appeared a year later, it was lipgloss and blusher all round for their pop breakthrough. The Eno influence is still there on the glacial synths of Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel but New Gold Dream is the first of their albums to yield bona fide hit singles, the properly catchy Promised You A Miracle breaching the Top 20 for the first time.


The grandiose reach of the album, best represented by the indubitably epic title track, would go on to influence U2 in the making of The Unforgettable Fire. Kerr, meanwhile, was in Smash Hits discussing impending fame. Simple Minds were on the commercial up-and-up but, while there would be a couple more classic singles along the road to mid-1980s domination, their formidable salvo of albums had run its course.


So, if you only buy one box set of previously remastered early Simple Minds albums, better make it this one because the Minds don't come any better than here.


(5 out of 5)







X5
GW - 'The Shields Gazette' - 22nd February 2012 (UK)


The best thing about boxsets like this is that in just a few hours, they lead you through a journey which originally took several years.


As its name suggests, this collection brings together the first five albums by Glasgow post-punks-turned stadium rockers Simple Minds, and what a journey it is.


It starts with their 1979 debut Life In A Day, which mirrors the work of contemporaries such as Magazine and The Cars to forebears like Roxy Music.


Despite opening impressively with the 1-2-3 of Someone, the title track, and Sad Affair, it is a patchy effort, which doesn't rise above anything else around at the time. (6/10)


Real To Real Cacophony, released just six months later, sees a sharp shift away from pop stylings to a darker, more experimental sound.


Premonition, which opened side two of the original LP, and Changeling are the standouts. (6/10)


With electro music starting to really make its impact felt, Simple Minds's next step was 1980's Empires And Dance, whose high points include the under-achieving single I Travel and Today I Died Again.


Heavily influenced by krautrock, particularly Kraftwerk, it was a deeply ambitious album. (7/10)


Fourth offering Sons And Fascination, which features the wonderful Love Song, is a strange affair, notably for also including what might be regarded as their fifth, Sister Feelings Call.


The latter was initially included as a bonus disc with the first 10,000 copies of the former, but was later released in its own right.


Here they're on two discs, in a gatefold sleeve. (7/10 and 6/10)


Finally, New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) is the first step on the road to the stadium-filling, U2-emulating rock juggernaut Jim Kerr & co were to become.


Starting with Someone Somewhere In Summertime, it also includes commercial breakthrough Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize – a fan favourite to this day – and remains a classic of its time. (8/10)







X5
James Iles - 'Coventry Observer' - 22nd February 2012 (UK)


A glittering career sparkles in Simple Minds boxset


Simple Minds remain one of the most successful and influential bands to grace the popular music scene and in 'X5', their six CD boxset out this week, we can chart their progress from finding their voice on 1979's Life In A Day, through the Eurotrance and art rock experimentation of Empires and Dance (1980) to their ascent to pop success in 1982's New Gold Dream.


Yes, it was only after these original five studio albums (1979's Real to Real Cacophony and 1981's Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call double LP complete the quintet) that the Glaswegian rockers went on to fill stadiums with their atmospheric dance-tinged brand of synthesizer rock thanks to global hits like Don't You Forget About Me and Alive and Kicking.


But X5 is worth your time if only to fully appreciate their huge influence from the new wave and later dance scenes of the 80s and 90s to the Manic Street Preachers.


If you listen carefully you will be playing 'guess the dance remix sample' but more tellingly witness their influential parity with contemporaries like Joy Division, Peter Gabriel, PiL or Echo and the Bunnymen.


The foundation laying begins with 1979 debut album Life In A Day where the Roxy Music/Bowie glam rock love is clear, especially on Someone and No Cure.


The benchmark track that illustrates Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill's early songwriting potential is Chelsea Girl which exemplifies why Moby can 'barely go a week without listening to one of the first 4 or 5 Simple Minds albums.' The Celtic rock guitar and glam of Murder Story also highlights John Leckie's timeless production.


Six months later Real to Real Cacophony followed but there's already progress with the addition of much more electronica creating a superb New Wave sound starting with the blips and squeaks on opener Real to Real.


Leckie produces again and experimentation abounds on Naked Eye plus instrumentals Cacophony and Veldt. Premonition with its 'Doors meets disco groove' feel and the Kraftwerk efficiency of Factory mark the sign of things to come.


Empires and Dance (1980) develops the Krautrock/Eurotrance period of the band on the Autobahn-esque of Capital City and the Moroder disco of I Travel see more sequencing and programming evident. Celebrate's glam rock electro stomp would suit Depeche Mode even now while you can hear Front 242 taking notes from the industrialised This Fear of Gods.


The double helping that is 1981's Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call sees the Minds move to Virgin and Steve Hillage in charge of the decks. It's here that their European disco influence truly comes to the fore, especially on the superb single Love Song.


Sister Feelings Call is launched by Theme For Great Cities (later sampled for Raven Maize's The Real Life 90s dance anthem) which is a movie soundtrack in its own right with trademark meandering bass melodies from Derek Forbes.


X5 is perfectly packaged in a white box with individual LP style CD sleeves, the discs themselves honouring the original vinyl centre labels.


The collection ends with New Gold Dream 81-82-82-84 which hails the band's crossover to the big time and its panoramic ambience is credited as an influence on U2's Unforgettable Fire by producer Daniel Lanois.


The UK #3 album contains undisguised pop gems Promised You A Miracle, Glittering Prize and Someone, Somewhere (In Summertime) - three hit tracks that find the formula for success in the singles charts and pave the way for the stadium stardom that would inevitably follow.







X5
Graeme Thomson - 'Uncut Magazine' - 23rd February 2012 (UK)


Their post-punk early years, boxed...


There be gold in them stadium rock foothills. Before the superannuated MTV anthems, the spot lit spouses, the charity mega gigs, Simple Minds were the very opposite of boring. They made dark, dazzling, unconventional records whose influence would later echo through the music of U2, Primal Scream, Manic Street Preachers, The Horrors and Blur (speed up the carnival rhythms of "Life In A Day" and "Girls And Boys" drifts into view).


A new box-set assiduously tracks this alternative narrative. It contains remastered versions of the band's first five albums (though it lacks, sadly, any unreleased treasure) and begins with the callow charm of John Leckie-produced debut Life In A Day (1979). Although they've outgrown their early incarnation as Johnny & The Self Abusers, the spirited music remains highly derivative, a post-punk melange of Cockney Rebel, The Doors, Roxy Music, Bowie, Magazine and Neu!. Dodgy eight-minute dirge "Pleasantly Disturbed" is prog-rock-meets-the-Velvets.


Significant progress is made on Real To Real Cacophony (1979). The work of a band in rapid transition, it features an ambitious, experimental concatenation of styles. "Naked Eye" and "Carnival" are nightmare vaudevilles, the aural equivalent of a hall of mirrors. "Veldt" is incipient world music, a post-colonial dream fever nodding to Peter Gabriel and Bowie's Lodger. Elsewhere, the growing rhythmic interplay between bassist Derek Forbes and drummer Brian McGhee edges songs onto the dancefloor. "Premonition" is hard, futuristic Euro-funk; "Changeling" metallic post-punk overlaid with a sawing synth groove. Both are wonderful.


On Empires And Dance (1980), Leckie's final album with the band, they follow this path into the heart of disco-rock darkness. Jim Kerr's agitated travelogue observes Old Europe decadence, pre-war "drug cabarets" and contemporary New European turmoil: Baader-Meinhof, bombs in Rome and Paris. It's both disturbing and bleakly romantic. On the almost unbearably taut "Thirty Frames A Second" existential panic and the lure of the glitterball unite in perfect lockstep. "I Travel" is whirling dance-rock and the relentless "Celebrate" is a chain-gang electro-blues, a proto-"Personal Jesus". Slow and monolithic, "Today I Died Again" and "This Fear Of Gods" are suffused with dread. You can certainly see why Empires And Dance might have made a profound impression on the Manic Street Preachers, whose The Holy Bible drew on everything from its cover art to its unsettling themes.


The mood changes again on Sons And Fascination/Sister Feeling's Call (1981). Recording with Gong-master Steve Hillage, the original intention was to make a double album and, although the two records were eventually released simultaneously but apart, they share the same thick, sinister, bass-heavy atmosphere. Smoky tribal rhythms and North African and Middle Eastern melodies snake through "League Of Nations", "Boys From Brazil" and the title track, while Kerr's clipped bark is now pitched so low he almost swallows his own words, which are generally disquieting: "Not just the boy who's crying wolf now / Somebody's screaming up at our door".


Yet at the same time something less ominous is emerging from the shadows, evident in almost-hits "Love Song" and "The American", which expires in Charlie Burchill's thrilling squall of wah-wah. The ability to shackle artfully alienated dance-rock to a warm, hummable chorus point towards New Gold Dream, which appeared in 1982 like a shimmering heat haze, lit up from within with an ambient, golden pop glow. Hits "Promised You A Miracle" and "Glittering Prize" may be persuasive, but it's "Big Sleep" and Herbie Hancock's sublime keyboard solo on the mesmerising "Hunter And The Hunted" which attain true transcendence.


Sultry assassin's song "King Is White And In The Crowd" reprises the old menace, but the dawning of a new age in which the cover of Smash Hits was as coveted as that of NME brought these perennial outsiders in from the cold. Simple Minds rapidly became a very different band, sucked into the rock slipstream. Anyone who knows only that part of the story is urged to immerse themselves in these albums which, though far from flawless, are fascinating, endlessly inventive and somewhat magical. Not only have they have never sounded better, they've rarely seemed so in tune with the times.


8 out of 10







X5
Tim Chipping - 'www.holymoly.com' - 27th February 2012 (UK)


All five of their pioneering and brilliant early albums


We are all familiar with the concept of selling out. In music, that usually equates to a band becoming very successful with records their older fans don't like much. But has anyone ever managed to successfully sell-in? Repositioning themselves in the critical consciousness by emphasizing their earlier, more eclectic work and pursuing the more interesting paths they eschewed for stadium schlock. Because that's what Simple Minds are attempting to do. And against the odds, it might just work.


The first step in Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill's campaign to rewrite their less than flattering entry in the annals of rock history, is the rerelease of Simple Minds' first five albums in an irresistibly low-priced boxset.


These records, made between 1979 and 1982, and featuring the sublime, top-string favouring bass wizardry of Derek Forbes, document just about every twist, turn and diversion post-modern pop took, once the debris of punk had cleared.


While their John Leckie produced debut Life In A Day was a competent enough facsimile of chart-friendly new wave, its swift follow-up Real to Real Cacophony unleashed a daring and astonishing blend of Kraftwerk and Eno minimalism; all deliciously bleak electronic burbles and cold guitar stabs.


By 1980, the band's horizons had broadened not just to Germany but Italy too, with the Krautrock meets Moroder assault of Empires And Dance. Apparently released with reluctance by a label unconvinced by the early arrival of intelligent dance music, we can only imagine how infuriating it's been for Simple Minds to have endured three decades of this same blueprint being reappraised and reheated by every new floppy fringed darling of the Evening Session and 6 Music. Being a pioneer can be a thankless task.


Just to be difficult, the Glaswegian eyeliner ambassadors then chose to release two albums simultaneously. Now packaged as a double set, 1981's Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call are something of a halfway house between the uncompromising artiness of their previous records, and the heaven-bound pop that was to come. Kerr was no longer yelping and moaning against the beat but attempting grandiose, swooping melodies from the same school as Sparks or Associates. The choice of Gong's Steve Hillage as producer was a strange one, given the cowbell-driven funk the group were aiming for.


Which brings us to the final disc in the X5 box (and for some us the last time we'd publicly profess to being Simple Minds fans) 1982's New Gold Dream (81–82–83–84). Without giving in to the temptation to shower this album with Paul Morley-esque waffle, put simply, Someone Somewhere In Summertime, Promised You A Miracle and Glittering Prize are three of the greatest pop records of the early eighties. Confident, taught, fantastical, romantic, pristine and shimmering. How could such a band have ever become a dirty word in the music press? Oh yes, now we remember.


The next stage in the rehabilitation of Simple Minds is their current tour, during which they'll be performing songs from all these must-own records. And then there's a new album, which will attempt to pick up at least some of these discarded threads to see what else Simple Minds could become - a return to the underground, if you will. The most unlikely homecoming in pop.


8 out of 10







X5
Matthew Horton - 'BBC Music' - March 2012 (UK)


A fascinating study of one band's evolution over its first five albums.


To anyone bemoaning Simple Minds' second life as U2's little stadium-rock brothers, the aficionado would point to their early albums when they were experimentalists, their heads unturned by the US dollar. Now as recent releases like The Horrors' Skying are compared favourably with formative Minds efforts, there's a chance for everyone to appreciate the fuss. X5 is a box set of their first five albums, plus remixes and live tracks, nominally issued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) but, more pertinently, to tie in with a set of gigs that will draw exclusively on the material.


And it's a fascinating study of one band's evolution, as they quickly find their feet, take them in unexpected directions then plant them firmly in the 80s rock soil. Immediately, there's no real indication of the Glaswegians' past as punks Johnny and the Self Abusers. Life in a Day – Simple Minds' 1979 debut – owes an undeniable debt to Roxy Music and the David Bowie of Station to Station and Low, mixing curt piano lines and glam rock but also hinting at a sense of fun that would later be wiped clear. Chelsea Girl even sounds like the hit that would nevertheless elude them for three years.


Real to Real Cacophony, released just a few months later, is more stripped back but seethes with ideas from the jumbled snare flashes of Citizen (Dance of Youth) to the oompah synths of Film Theme. Empires and Dance in 1980 – is there anyone so prolific these days? Rihanna, maybe – is more out-there still, its adventure epitomised by the convulsive Twist/Run/Repulsion, with Jim Kerr still finding his voice but guitarist Charlie Burchill carving perfect geometric shapes. There are shared patterns with chronological peers Talking Heads but Simple Minds are already looking closer to home, to Sheffield perhaps (or further up the tree, to Düsseldorf), embracing electronics.


Moving along, jewels abound on 1981's Sons and Fascination in the scratchy Sweat In Bullet and a title-track where Kerr begins to nail his baritone, but bolt-on album Sister Feelings Call really shines. The headlong drive and waterfall synths of Theme for Great Cities would become a bed for late-80s techno monsters, and the Minds at last discover a killer chorus on The American.


Finally – one breathless year later – there's New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), the stepping stone. Burchill's guitar is seeking out riffs now, Kerr is the rabble-rousing frontman – and there are hits. The glorious hooks of Glittering Prize still sound great and Promised You a Miracle is an unavoidable breakthrough; but that questing, quirky spirit is gone, replaced by a big bold music that will fatten the wallet. For the rest of us it was worth it for the journey.







X5
Shaun Kelly - 'www.contactmusic.com' - March 2012 (UK)


It's 1985, the Breakfast Club is in the Cinema and its theme song, 'Don't You Forget About Me', has just helped break Simple Minds in America.


The most successful moment in their career is regarded by many as being the point their stock about faced and plummeted straight back down as they abandoned their routes in new wave Euro inspired dance rock.


Don't You Forget About Me led on to the unapologetic bombast of 'Once upon a Time' and their only number one song, 'Belfast Child'.


But now, Simple Minds are enjoying a resurgence in popularity in music circles as numerous new and established acts name check the Glasgow band's early material as strong influences on their own sound.


These first albums are now being released together as one delicious boxset with extra tracks featuring B-Sides, alternative and live versions, entitled 'X5'.


What people forget about early Simple Minds material is how incredibly prolific they were. 'Life in a Day', 'Real to Real Cacophony,' 'Empires and Dance,' 'Sons and Fascination/Sisters Feeling Call' and 'New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84' were all released between 1979 and 1982. These albums are the work of five musicians whose evolution over the course of these albums helped to merge dance and rock a decade before 'Screamadelica' and dance music as we know it even existed.


'Life in a Day', the band's first album, which was considered to have been inspired by the likes of Roxy Music, is a fairly guitar driven album from the band's axeman Charlie Burchill, which has influences of David Bowie.


The album's pop rock sound is summed up by single 'Chelsea Girl' but the album also has gems such as 'Pleasantly Disturbed'.


The evolution that the original Simple Minds line up went through, which featured drummer Brian McGhee and Uber bassist Derek Forbes, can be best conveyed in the difference between 'Life in a Day' and follow up album, 'Real to Real Cacophony'. It was clear to see that Simple Minds were becoming more of a European band than a British act. Their experiences of touring the continent and listening to the likes of Kraftwerk were beginning to rub off. The dramatic change in direction happened in a matter of months after 'Life In A Day' was released.


The sound of 'Real to Real' is strongly driven by Mick MacNeil's synths, which are particularly prominent on 'Naked Eye' and 'Carnival (Shelter In A Suitcase.)'


But to get a slice of classic early Minds, listen to 'Premonition' and 'Changeling'.


The band's third album, 'Empires and Dance' sees the band metamorphose into a completely different animal from how they began on their debut album. 'Empires' sees them perfect their euro kraut sound on classic track 'I Travel', where the song's lyrics examine the European political landscape.


Empires and Dance saw Simple Minds perfect the swagger in their music and a track perfectly displaying this is 'Celebrate', an incredible, almost disco sounding stomper. 'Empires and Dance' was notorious at the time for the sheer fact that it was murder to get a hold of. Arista Records, the label Simple Minds were on at the time, would only produce 15,000 copies of the album, and then wait for it to sell out before doing the same again. This incident lead the band to leave Arista and sign with Virgin.


Despite being called 'X5', the compilation actually has six albums.


Sons and Fascination contained Sister Feeling Call as a companion piece. Sons and Fascination/Sister Feeling Call contain tracks that can take a listener to a state of Zen. 'This Earth You Walk Upon' and 'Seeing Out The Angel' sees MacNeil and Forbes reaching some kind of utopia in musicality.


Jim Kerr's voice is also at its most haunting in the latter track.


Don't forget Charlie Burchill however. His tasteful guitar riffs also add to the luscious landscape and prime examples of this can be found on 'Lovesong' and 'The American'.


Sister Feeling Call contains, quite possibly, one of the greatest instrumentals of all time and is a track Derek Forbes will always be remembered for.


'Theme For Great Cities' verges on the hypnotic, with Forbes' basslines and the haunting synths of MacNeil.


If these albums were a pre-cursor of what was to come then 'New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84' is surely the early Minds' calling card. New Gold Dream is the album Simple Minds are remembered for before they discovered stadiums.


This is the album that really brought them to attention of the mainstream record buying public. It went to number three in the UK charts when it was released.


'Someone, Somewhere In Summertime' is probably the best opening track out of any Simple Minds album. Beautiful music is complimented by one of Kerr's best lyrics. 'New Gold Dream' is a synth pop classic while 'Big Sleep' and 'Hunter and the Hunter' merely cement the early line up's reputation as incredible musicians.


If you're a fan you probably have all these albums anyway, probably even the 2002 remastered versions of the albums which these are, so you might skip buying this compilation. If you are just discovering Simple Minds, on the other hand, you won't have a better opportunity to purchase five albums of music that stood head and shoulders above other bands from the early 80s.


Yes, we all know that they eventually discovered stadiums and their inspiration regressed towards the end of the 80s, but with these five albums, released under five years, they were astounding.


9 out of 10







X5
'www.17seconds.co.uk' - March 8th 2012 (UK)


It could all have turned out so very differently…


1989: The Cure release their seventh and best album Disintegration. U2 are still riding high on the release of The Joshua Tree and the resulting Rattle & Hum album and film, and are generally regarded as being the biggest band in the world at this point. Simple Minds release Street Fighting Years. Although it is a no.1 album, it's bombastic, and way behind their pioneering best work. 'Belfast Child' is the band's only no.1 single, a reworking of the folk song 'She Moves Through The Fair.' It is also the last album they will do with keyboardist Michael MacNeil and manager Bruce Findlay.


1979: The Cure release their debut album Three Imaginary Boys. Though within a year they will have reinvented themselves completely, at this point their debut album only offers a hint of how excellent and essential they will become. Over In Ireland Dublin four-piece U2 release their debut EP Three, solely in that country. Simple Minds, in the year that is arguably the greatest ever for music, are streets ahead of both of them…


X5 is a fantastic compilation. In essence, what it is is Simple Minds' first five albums together as a box set, retailing for around £12.00, with decent extras, like the extended remixes of tracks that are worth hearing, rather than the need for an entire album's worth of the demos. The box set also deals nicely with the issue of Sons & Fascination and Sister Feelings Call – one album or two? – by placing them together in a gatefold sleeve.


It's fascinating to track the evolution of ver Minds at this point. Debut Life In A Day wears its' love of the Velvets and Roxy on its' sleeve, to the extent that I swear it sounds like Jim Kerr is actually trying to sound like Bryan Ferry (they would eventually work with Lou Reed on, erm, Street Fighting Years). The quantum leap to Real To Real Cacophony (described by then label Arista as being one of the most uncommercial releases they had ever heard) is comparable to the jump between Pablo Honey and The Bends. While U2 were sounding earnest, the Minds were looking to Berlin more than a decade before U2 would make Achtung Baby. And both those Minds albums came out in 1979.


1980′s Empires And Dance showed them progressing yet further. Opener 'I Travel' still sounds remarkably fresh thirty years on, and predates much of the dance music of the forthcoming decade, never mind stadium rock. It's intersting though that on the following year's double pairing of Sons…and Sisters that the '20th Century Promised Land' suddenly hints at the direction they would take. By 1982′s New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84 breakthrough hit 'Promised You A Miracle' (what the hell was with that white biker jacket though on Top Of the Pops?) showed that the anthems were coming through. But they were still am excellent bloody band. And they even made it into John Peel's Festive Fifty that year with no less than 3 entries.


Sure, they got really big, and the quality control dipped, but forget the stadium pomp and focus on the peerless work herein. It's taken long enough for this era of their work to be re-evaluated – but with bands from the Manics to the Primals to the Horrors lining up to acknowledge their influence, it really is time to embrace them.


5 out of 5




Simple Minds Canvas Art