ALBUM REVIEW: Simple Minds – Simple Minds Acoustic

Simple Minds - Simple Minds Acoustic (Caroline International).
Simple Minds - Simple Minds Acoustic (Caroline International).

You'd expect a band who've been around nearly 40 years to come up with a more imaginative title for their 17th album, but you can't deny it does exactly what it says in the tin.

It's a one-off collection of 're-imagined' songs spanning their entire career, but concentrating on the years when they morphed from electro pioneers to stadium rockers.

The idea stems from a 2014 live session they recorded for a radio show, and an acoustic set played at an unplugged festival.

If you'd ever wondered what they'd sound like stripped of the synths which are so much a part of their 'big music' sound, here's your answer.

They go all the way back to Chelsea Girl from their 1979 debut Life In A Day, and 1981's The American.

There are four tracks from 1982's breakthrough New Gold Dream album, and some of them work better than others as acoustic arrangements.

For Promised You A Miracle they're joined by fellow Scot KT Tunstall, whose distinctive raspy vocals make it just as beguiling as it was back then, and twice as funky.

Glittering Prize, featuring regular backing vocalist Sarah Brown, is another highlight, while Someone Somewhere In Summertime, Don't You (Forget About Me) and Waterfront are also enjoyable in a stripped-down form.

Even Alive And Kicking and Sanctify Yourself from 1985's Once Upon A Time, which saw them derided by many lovers of their earlier work, sound good minus the bombast.

The collection is rounded off by a passable cover of Richard Hawley's Long Black Train, though Jim Kerr's voice can't compare to the original singer's rich baritone.

It's a bit hit and miss, and probably for long-standing fans and completists only, but is nevertheless an interesting addition to their canon of work. 6/10