Review by Ben Wilkinson
Veteran rock band Simple Minds return to the post-punk scene with Walk Between Worlds, a new LP serving as a follow up to their critically acclaimed 2014 album Big Music. The band have grown out of their earlier image – now with the addition of three female members and the loss of long time drummer Mel Gaynor, as well as Andy Gillespie on the keys – but long-term members Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill still stand firm in their places as lead vocalist and guitarist. New collection Walk Between Worlds pitches in with 8 tracks, clocking in at just over 42 minutes.
Lead single ‘Magic is an explosion of vibrancy about the “hunger and desire for youth”, opening with a pack-a-punch of guitar-synth, before blasting into a funky, energetic chorus – a refreshing step up from ‘Simple Minds’.
‘Summer’ follows in its tracks with a more focused approach and sees Kerr tell a story of being born again, with a typical Simple Minds lustre, opening with a deep, surging bass pulse.
The third offering ‘Utopia’ is an engaging track that offers a dreamy, oriental premise, with Kerr posing the question “would you wait for me?” with a sensuous aura of allure.
‘The Signal and the Noise’ introduces a catchy bass-line, with a nice amount of drum and synth. Mixed with rugged, raw vocals from Kerr and a dreamy guitar interlude from Burchill, this number proves just how underrated Simple Minds are.
The album continues its scintillating course during its second act. A ghostly influx and poignant vocals make way for standout track ‘In Dreams’ to burst into grandiosity, with a boast of dramatic orchestration. “Forevers never too long“, Kerr exposes a more vulnerable side to his voice, adding a degree of depth to the track.
‘Barrowland Star’ injects a dose of nostalgia to the album that long-term fans are sure to crave – by paying homage to an iconic Glasgow venue that represented a younger Simple Minds, all while featuring orchestral flourishes and reminiscent vocals.
After this six-and-a-half-minute epic, the title track ‘Walk Between Worlds’ swings next in with soulful sophistication, as it opens with a delicate string arrangement before morphing into an anthemic spectacular that displays a fearless maturity.
In the closing track, ‘Self of Discovery’ sees Simple Minds muse over their rise to fame, bearing a striking resemblance to their 1985 single ‘Alive and Kicking’. As Kerr exclaims there are “no more secrets”, there is a moment of self realisation and acceptance for the band. The verse has a tonal shift that sees the chorus erupt and carry the song into a new territory, full of banging vocals and guitar riffs.
This breakthrough, anthem-packed offering proves that Simple Minds are worthy of their successful reputation, claiming their place as the ultimate synth-rock band.