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Reviews Written by
Mark Baldwin (Leighton Buzzard, Beds United Kingdom)

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5x5 Live
5x5 Live

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than it ever had any right to be!!!, 9 April 2015
This review is from: 5x5 Live (Audio CD)
Almost gave up after years of bland mediocrity. I went to the Rounhouse gig and was blown away. Incredible all the way through. Highlights are King is a White, Scar, 70 Cities and Sweat in Bullet but it's all amazing.

Big Music
Big Music
Price: £11.12

13 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great in places but could be that much better..., 3 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Big Music (Audio CD)
I'm going to seem a right miserable git be going for three stars but please hear me out...

I'll start off with the good. The album starts strongly and I agree with most people that the opening trio is very good. Honest Town has real heart to it and is their best single in years IMO. Listen to acoustic version on You Tube too as it has real heart. Blindfolded is very old school in that it's quite a vibe driven track and has Charlie showcasing a lot of really nice sounds and effects. It sounds fresh and I love listening to it.

Okay, the not so good... Jim's voice just seems to have deteriorated to a croon over the years and it lacks the power it used to have. He's also developed some annoying ticks. He used to be a powerhouse and its shame to hear him like this. I know that some of this will be age but to be fair, listen to Bono singing new track California - his voice is also amazing throughout the new album.

Some of the synths are lazy too and, the 80s fanfare on Blood Diamonds are just grating. Which leads me onto the underlying problem... Simple Minds aren't really a band anymore, not song writing wise anyway. They ceased to write like a band once Mick left - I know that everyone harps on about this but it's true. The songs lack any real dynamics, they feel like they were mainly written by Charlie on a keyboard or with a guitar and drum track and as a result lack the power of their hey day. People are saying this is one of their best but if you compare even the best tracks here I would take tracks like Someone Somewhere, King Is White, Sweat In Bullet, Speed Your Love, Book of Brilliant Things, I Travel (I could go on much much more but you get the idea!) over anything on here if I'm honest. It's not to be living in the past, it's just that the songs don't ebb and flow due to the lack of creative input. I don't understand why the band can't jam tracks out like they used to, this would help so much with enriching the music. It was always the alchemy that Burchill/McNeil/Forbes that made them so special. Jim has always been the driving force of the band but musically Charlie has a heavy burden to carry.

Of course what a lot of us would really like to see would be for those guys to bury whatever hatchet (and it sounds like it could be money) they have and have one last hurrah - I think Mick's piano on top of some of these tracks would give them so much more. And the bass, while quite present, needs more interplay with the drums. I also feel that Mel's been underused (again!) and a lot of the drums sounds one dimensional and are probably synthetic. Failing this at least get Ged, Mel and Andy to jam ideas out with Charlie to help inspire more of a band sound - it's all too predicable.

Anyway, apologies for the negatives. The album is good but I just know it could be so much better. The good songs are stronger than recent years but there is still too much filler for me. Some people are likening this to New Gold Dream... Big Music, Kill or Cure, Human - I mean really?!

Anyway, good effort and I'm glad that they are still willing to try and produce something fresh and it's still a lot better than a lot of stuff around today.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2014 1:17 PM GMT

Bolse® 12W NFC Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker, 8 hour Playtime with Built-in Speakerphone for iPhone 6, 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC
Bolse® 12W NFC Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker, 8 hour Playtime with Built-in Speakerphone for iPhone 6, 5S, 5, iPad Air, Mini, Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, HTC, Tablets, PC

5.0 out of 5 stars Best Budget Bluetooth Speaker Around, 15 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have to agree with everyone here. I bought this to take on holiday so that we had tunes our villa and it was able to fill the whole place! The instruments are nicely defined and separated which is usually unheard of at this price. Great product, great sound, great functionality. The two friends who were on holiday with me liked it so much that they each ordered one too!

Once Upon a Time
Once Upon a Time
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £5.47

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When Simple Minds had the world at their feet..., 19 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Once Upon a Time (Audio CD)
Okay, so a few years later they blew it (largely due to Mick McNeil leaving the band and depriving them of the musical alchemy shared between himself and Mr.Burchill) but at this time in their career, Simple Minds had reached their peak. I disagree with anyone who slags this album off for being too "big" or "pompous". Yes it was, but so were Queen and so can U2 be, but isn't that why people love them???
I'm not taking anything away from the earlier albums "Life In Day", etc , "Sons and Fascination" had some great ideas and, arguable "New Gold Dream" is more subtle and mysterious and "Sparkle..." a some cracking tunes, but "Once Upon A Time" had greater ambitions and wanted to take this one step further.
Jimmy Iovine was an excellent choice of producer, and let's not forget, this was the mid 80s and it was the right choice of record for this time. As for the tunes. I would defend the beautiful symphonic melodies of the title track, "All The Things She Said" for its uplifting middle coda, "Alive and Kickings" fantastic singalong moments, "Sanctify Yourself" for it's sheer power, "Wish You Were Here's" old style Mind's subtlety and "Come Along Way" for it's sheer haunting playout (Mr.Gaynor's drums never sounded so good!). The lyrics are more direct and politically motivated, but so what, it was largely due to their campaigning that Nelson Mandela got out when he did - is this such a bad thing? And, come on, they couldn't carry on being a cross between Depeche Mode and Roxy Music forever, they'd already done that and bought the t-shirt! Yes, "Ghostdancing" was a new "I Travel" in sheep's clothing but give me "the car pulled up" middle eight anyday! "Oh Jungleland" is the weakest for me, but only because the others are so strong and works well live was an impassioned homage to lads hometown of Glasgow.
Obviously, I'm a fan of this album, but I simply love it for the years of, "hair on the back of the neck" moments it's given me. Sorry as I'm just rambling now! ...Don't let us forget about them in a hurry!!!

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