Friday, March 2, 2018

Simple Minds: Sense Of Discovery

"Waiting for a moment that you think won't come.
Belief is no illusion but you must go on.
The heart is like a temple, one you cannot see.
Inside this world's discovery."

It's clear that veteran alternative rock act Simple Minds can bring the signal and the noise, but for this fan of the band I am often moved when lead singer Jim Kerr lets space breathe between movements and sound. Songs like Blindfolded, Hypnotised and Moscow Underground allow Charlie Burchill to shine rather than getting lost in the sonic wall.

For me their was a soaring majesty, breadth and scope to the theme-packed long form outing that was the magnificent, ambitious Street Fighting Years (1989).

When the band reaches for greatness in inspired compositions like See The Lights from Real Life (1991) I'm forever blown away and stirred to my soul.

Three of their recordings truly touched me as written about here. More recent outings have had their moments to be sure. Big Music (2014), with a nod to past glories (Broken Glass Park), is laden with hooks and melodies that perhaps echoed their greatest outings and that recording became a favorite from start to finish. Like its title it's a big bold winner.

Leave it to Kerr and Burchill, two of the band's founding members, not to remain still or stagnant. Walk Between Worlds (2018) tries some new ideas and sometimes land them successfully, but it is still a work in progress or discovery for me. Unfortunately the effort doesn't quite hit the mark for this music fan try as I might to absorb its rhythms and overall sonic approach. Big Music was inspired and perhaps a little nostalgic even but it struck all the right cords for me and was filled with the kind of space that invades Sense Of Discovery on the new production.

Nevertheless, this music fan applauds Scotland's finest Simple Minds for trying something new and for indulging their innate sense of adventure and discovery and no one can deny the group is having fun doing it. The group would not be at it for over four decades if they were a one note opera. Having said that Walk Between Worlds doesn't quite hit my wheelhouse when it comes to my personal pleasure zone for the group. My ear for the band is more in keeping with the kind of song on display here. A song like Sense Of Discovery is damn near perfect Simple Minds.

Sense Of Discovery is at once fresh when it comes to the band's approach to big music with a touch of throwback resonance that harkens back to the likes of Alive And Kicking from Once Upon A Time (1985). Fans of the band will know exactly I mean when they hear it. Clocking in at over six minutes and as the last official song on the outing, Sense Of Discovery goes for epic and is a gorgeous Kerr classic.

The song, in particular, may be less about the new attempts and new discoveries of its resident album in full and more about a rediscovery of what has worked so beautifully for the band for years while applying some new touches---the big, bold, stirring, emotional, epic, musical experience. Like the recording title from which this is spawned it's a walk between worlds past, present and future. Like Spirited Away which closed Big Music, Sense Of Discovery is one of those living, breathing, beautiful, expansive compositions fans love when the band takes full advantage of both their craft and use of space. It closes this journey and blows me away.

Walk Between Worlds (2018). B. A solid outing with highlights like Magic, Summer, In Dreams, Barrowland Star and the final track on spotlight here.

Sense Of Discovery. A. A strong Simple Minds opus of reflective, thoughtful ponderances to simply get lost within. It's yet another reminder of just how wondrous some of the band's songs have been all these years. The uninitiated to Simple Minds have much to discover. And once again loyal fans are rewarded and reminded there is still much to look forward to and discover along with Kerr and company.

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