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Simple Minds - Graffiti Soul

Simple Minds, Graffiti Soul

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

STYLISTICALLY, this is a truly vibrant rock ‘n’ roll album that’s bursting at the seams with quite possibly the most ballsy pop songs we have written in years.” So says Simple Minds frontman, Jim Kerr, ahead of the release of the band’s 15th studio album, Graffiti Soul.

His confidence isn’t misplaced. There’s an epic sense surrounding almost every song on the LP that suggests Simple Minds could be back in a very big way.

Recorded at the famous Rockfield Studios where the Scottish group originally recorded their earlier seminal albums, Real To Real Cacophony, Empires And Dance and sowed the seeds of New Gold Dream, this is a firm reminder of why Simple Minds are one of Scotland’s brightest and biggest bands.

Some may argue that there’s a little too much seriousness surrounding the songs on the LP, but fans old and new are sure to find themselves swayed by the big guitar riffs, towering choruses and overall positivity surrounding the LP.

Opening with the sort of big guitar effort that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early U2 album, Moscow Underground is, by turns, moody and epic – underpinned by a throbbing bassline, some Edge-style guitar riffs and a set of vocals from Kerr that do seem to be channelling Bono and Springsteen.

It’s a positive start that’s built upon by the likes of the more optimstic Rockets and the shimmering anthem-in-waiting that is Stars Will Lead The Way, which comes complete with a background chant that hints at Don’t You Forget About Me and the type of guitar riffs that are made for filling stadiums.

Album highlight Light Travels then confirms that Kerr and company haven’t lost their ability to slow-build intelligent, brooding numbers that are as layered as they are meaningful.

Thereafter, the quality is maintained. Kiss And Fly is a solid pop-rocker, title track Graffiti Soul is moody and rousing, while Bloody Type O drops the guitar riffs in favour of a disco throb and some electronica (to reflect current trends). Kerr, too, adapts his vocals to sound more energetic.

Final track This Is It draws things to a close in satisfying fashion to underline the feeling that Simple Minds have returned in a very big way to become vital once again.

Read our interview with the band

Download picks: Moscow Underground, This Is It, Light Travels, Stars Will Lead The Way

Track listing:

  1. Moscow Underground
  2. Rockets
  3. Stars Will Lead The Way
  4. Light Travels
  5. Kiss And Fly
  6. Graffiti Soul
  7. Blood Type O
  8. This Is It