Simple Minds Big MusicWith the news that Sparkle In The Rain, the 1984 Simple Minds classic, will be reissued in a massive update that includes two 5.1 Surround Sound remixes, and a hi-quality Stereo remix. it’s only easy to turn my attention to something that I had intended to do for a few weeks now. That is the recently released new album by Simple Minds, Big Music.

When it was announced, I posted a notification about it back in October in a TAPSheet segment. For me (and I may be biased), Simple Minds has evolved but stayed well within the guidelines that made them such an intriguing band. Even after the waning popularity that (surprisingly) followed the immensely popular Once Upon A Time (1985), they managed to keep it refreshing. The wane in popularity may have been caused by the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that runs rampant in our often short attention spans, because their next, Street Fighting Man, wasn’t released until 1989. Europe kept their interest for a while before the arrival of Good News From The Next World (1995), where they fell out of favor except to the most dedicated fan.

Simple Minds kept going with a series of under-accepted, but good albums. In November, Simple Minds released what they called a return to the sounds of the past, in Big Music. And Big Music makes good on that promise.

Big Music is filled to the brim with songs that reminds of the strengths the band exhibited back in the ’80s, and does it with ease. There’s so much familiarity there, you might even resort to checking out your calendar, just to see what year is really is. Or worse, you might look outside to make sure you’re not in some new reality that has 1980s style of music still at its core.

Regardless, Big Music is a Simple Minds triumph that leaves you in a sort of grace. It’s wonderful to know that bands like this really haven’t lost the step they had back in their glory years. They just chose to evolve. But after many albums, the desire to revisit the past was too strong to resist.

Big Music doesn’t really need a track by track analysis because it just effortlessly succeeds. It opens with a strong ’80s-styled track, “Blindfolded”. That song is a perfect opener because it contains the exact elements that will grab your immediate attention. Kerr’s voice is preserved enough to pass for youth. Burchill’s guitars still underscore the Simple Minds’ sound. Mel Gaynor’s drumming is still the stuff that helped define their sound. The title track, “Big Music” is a pulsing track, followed by a stunning “Human”, rich with delicious and ghostly hooks. “Blood Diamonds” also has a historical sound, not unlike “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.

I’m calling Big Music a grand Simple Minds release, one that demands your attention. If you were a fan, don’t disservice yourself by not listening.  If you like steps back into time, Big Music is it for you.

Release Date: November 24, 2014
Label: Caroline Records
Website – Official
Availability: (CD, DD, LP)


By MARowe

2 thoughts on “Review: Big Music – Simple Minds”
  1. Thanks for the review Matt,

    I’d just like to say, after several good listenings, that this is an excellent album.

    Simple Minds have managed to respect their own past, as well as move forward with the musical elements. A very fine balance for a band so advanced in their career. And, they pull it off brilliantly.

    I would advise everyone to listen to “Honest Town” and ask yourself if this is the “song of the year?”

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