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Simple Minds

Sparkle in the Rain | Street Fighting Years

Sparkle in the Rain (Reviewed by SurlyOne):

Passive 80's fans may not realize that Scottish band Simple Minds recorded a wealth of material before their #1 American single "Don't You (Forget About Me)" from 1985. Sparkle In The Rain is their 6th album, released in early 1984. After experimenting with a variety of sounds (garage rock to art rock to synth pop), Simple Minds greeted the year of Big Brother with an all-out rock attack. "Up On The Catwalk" blasts out of the speakers with the twin attack of thunderous drums and rocking...piano! Jim Kerr's vocals are front and center within the first 10 seconds, but it's ultimately the brilliant guitar of Charlie Burchill that sets the listener up for what lies ahead.
"Speed Your Love To Me" is undeniably one of the best songs in the 'Minds repertoire...while many bands with egotistical leaders bury a rhythm section under the vocals, Simple Minds bring out each instrument with thundering clarity. First single "Waterfront" starts out with a heavy, throbbing bassline before a gutteral crash of guitar, drums and keyboards. It's one of the biggest 80's hits in Europe.

The band have always worn their musical influences on their collective sleeves, and on this album, they paid their first real tribute by covering the Lou Reed classic "Street Hassle." After an extended intro with keyboards and string samples, the song kicks in after a few minutes with earth-shattering drums and soaring guitars. One of the real gems of the album is the relentless "The Kick Inside Of Me." Recorded live in the studio in one take, an interview with the band circa 1984 revealed that everyone in the band was left with bleeding fingers at the end of the session by rocking out so hard on the song! As with many of their records, the album ends with the lilting instrumental "Shake Off The Ghosts." It's a great showcase for the solid musicianship of this sorely under-rated band.

Response to this review by Bogie): Definitely one of the finest 80s records. Sound as big as an elephant and imagery as powerful as a shotgun blast. The 12" remix of Up On The Catwalk was also one of the finest of its time.
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Street Fighting Years (Reviewed by Flix):

Artist: Simple Minds
Album: Street Fighting Years
Year: 1989
Genre: Pop/Rock
Label: Virgin
Track List:
Street Fighting Years
Soul Crying Out
Wall Of Love
This Is Your Land
Take A Step Back
Kick It In
Let It All Come Down
Mandela Day
Belfast Child
When Spirits Rise

Last album of the eighties from Scottish band Simple Minds. The album is produced by Trevor Horn, which always means a grand sound with lots of background instruments. This is also the case on this album, which makes the Simple Minds sound far less simple (no pun intended) than earlier albums. Especially Let It All Come Down, a wonderful Simple Minds ballad, has benefited from using Trevor Horn as a producer. Apart from Belfast Child and Mandela Day, songs like This Is Your Land (featuring Lou Reed on background vocals) and the mentioned Let It All Come Down are the highlights of this great album. Jim Kerr’s voice is smooth sounding throughout the whole album and the guitar of Charlie Burchill on a song like Kick It In is classic Simple Minds. They couldn’t have made a better album to end the eighties.
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