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And it's a fascinating study of one band's evolution, as they quickly find their feet, take them in unexpected directions then plant them firmly in the 80s rock soil. Immediately, there's no real indication of the Glaswegians' past as punks Johnny and the Self Abusers. Life in a Day – Simple Minds' 1979 debut – owes an undeniable debt to Roxy Music and the David Bowie of Station to Station and Low, mixing curt piano lines and glam rock but also hinting at a sense of fun that would later be wiped clear. Chelsea Girl even sounds like the hit that would nevertheless elude them for three years.
Real to Real Cacophony, released just a few months later, is more stripped back but seethes with ideas from the jumbled snare flashes of Citizen (Dance of Youth) to the oompah synths of Film Theme. Empires and Dance in 1980 – is there anyone so prolific these days? Rihanna, maybe – is more out-there still, its adventure epitomised by the convulsive Twist/Run/Repulsion, with Jim Kerr still finding his voice but guitarist Charlie Burchill carving perfect geometric shapes. There are shared patterns with chronological peers Talking Heads but Simple Minds are already looking closer to home, to Sheffield perhaps (or further up the tree, to Düsseldorf), embracing electronics.
Moving along, jewels abound on 1981's Sons and Fascination in the scratchy Sweat In Bullet and a title-track where Kerr begins to nail his baritone, but bolt-on album Sister Feelings Call really shines. The headlong drive and waterfall synths of Theme for Great Cities would become a bed for late-80s techno monsters, and the Minds at last discover a killer chorus on The American.
Finally – one breathless year later – there's New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), the stepping stone. Burchill's guitar is seeking out riffs now, Kerr is the rabble-rousing frontman – and there are hits. The glorious hooks of Glittering Prize still sound great and Promised You a Miracle is an unavoidable breakthrough; but that questing, quirky spirit is gone, replaced by a big bold music that will fatten the wallet. For the rest of us it was worth it for the journey.
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Great collection or 5 or 6 of the early albums by Simple Minds. This is collection would be well suited to someone that knows Simple Minds from the bigger stadium sound of Once... Read morePublished 6 months ago by MAC
bought this for my son who thought the CD was excellent he is a very big fan of the groupPublished 15 months ago by Margaret Mullineaux
great boxset compilation from SIMPLE MINDS bought as my old vinyl is now showing its age but best way to buy CD replacements especialy at this price anyone buying this collection... Read morePublished 21 months ago by tiddleypips
having been a big SM fan since their second album, and not having any on CD, I thought this box set would be great. Read morePublished on 28 Jan. 2013 by GarethM
5 topalbums in a box set from simple Minds. These albums are excellent and a must for any fan of the band . % stars for Jim , Charlie and co..Published on 22 Jan. 2013 by Rpj Mullin
There are few bands that show the degree of change over their first five albums as demonstrated here. Read morePublished on 14 Jan. 2013 by Martin Fielding
I've bought a few 80's and 90's cd's recently, and most come with a few extras - such as a booklet. The lack of these is the only disappointment. Read morePublished on 3 Dec. 2012 by GFYORK
You can pretty much mark where Simple Minds went from finger on the rhythmic pulse to drums down the stairs stadium rock with the departure of Derek Forbes. Read morePublished on 27 Nov. 2012 by Jeffrey M. Black
For those who grew up with Jim Kerr and co, this release sums up the essence of what was one of the most innovative and pioneering, yet accessible pop music of the early '80s. Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2012 by Christos Theofilogiannakos
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