Graffiti Soul is the new album from Simple Minds, in case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, and I have to say its an impressive collection of songs and ideas. It is probably, dare I say it, their best since 1991′s Real Life and shows that the band can bounce back from what could be described as ‘the lost years’.
This intense montage of guitar loops and effects pushed along by a driving bass-line is one of the highlights of the album and a great opening track. Theres some interesting and mature lyrics here supported by Burchill’s guitars with reference to Theme For Great Cities in places. Definitely up there with the best tracks they’ve produced.
9 / 10 – all round big hitter. Great music, great lyrics.
Is this really a single? Personally, this one is unsuccessfully trying to be a little to ‘down with the kids’ in its attempt to keep up with chart bands. If you play “Home” backwards, this is the track you will end up with. Lyrically its fairly laughable / slightly embarassing and whilst the guitars and keyboards are melodic enough, they are nothing to get excited about. As usual, any remix of this track I’ve heard is even less inspiring.
3 / 10 – embarassing lyrics with uninspiring melodies. Come on, are you serious?
Again, not Jim’s finest lyrical moment but all is forgiven for this number as it really takes you back to what these guys are good at – good old fashioned catchy riffs and powerful stadium strutting presence. I have a feeling this is the next single.
7 / 10 – lyrically awkward but melodically brilliant.
When I first heard this I was disappointed but the more I listen, the greater value it holds. Again, its not a classic but it is pretty good and it doesn’t get the finger pressing the FWD button on the CD player in quite the same way that Rockets does. Simple Minds truely reaching for that gear change!
6 / 10 – worth a listen and you won’t be giving it the [CD] finger.
Kiss and Fly
“Kiss and Fly?” – what? Actually, this is my favourite track for many reasons – though it does have its weaknesses. First of all Jim’s able to exercise his vocal chords to deliver some great chorus moments here and Charlie’s taken back the distortion to reveal some classic twang on his White Falcon. This is one of the best choruses I ve heard since Street Fighting Years and thanks to some great production theres some nice layers in the mix.
8/10 – my favourite, though not the best. Great vocal and guitar but lyrically dubious.
There’s something about this track that is compelling. It’s a fairly gritty rock n roll number, lyrically strong and melodically interesting with driving guitar.
6/10 – not a classic but keeps the standards high
Uh-oh, the vocals have been put through an EQ filter – this usually means that even the producer thought the track was lacking so to create a little more interest he [or she] reached for the special effects to try to spice things up. This track sounds like Inspiral Carpets having a Simple Minded moment. Also, it makes Rockets look almost acceptable.
2/10 – Simple Minds having a happy Monday.
This Is It
It’s an average track which will hold interest and you won’t be giving it the finger on the FWD button. It’s grown on me since I heard it first.
5/10 – don’t get too excited as this is it.
Shadows and Light
Shadows and Light is tucked away near the end of the album and will probably be stored in that archive of classics like Neapolis, Neon Lights amongst others that never really get talked about – even by the sort of Jim-stalkers you might find at a Simple Minds disco.
4 / 10 – destined for more shadows than light I’m afraid.
Rocking in the Free World
You just about get away with this one guys.
5/10 – reference to those SM classics on Neon Lights
There is a deluxe version of this album. All I will say is that they have definitely managed to match the standard set by Neon Lights in how covers should be played and Teardrop exceeds all expectations here. You have been warned.