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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2009
...well come on in then..!

The last Simple Minds album, "Black & White 050505" [2005], was a decent record, but perhaps somewhat obvious compared to the two previous albums "Cry" [2002] and "Our Secrets Are The Same" [2003]. Jim Kerr wanted a "landmark" album, what I think it ended up being was a band wanting to sound like what Simple Minds were 'supposed' to sound like. Don't be confused! It is a fine album with hindsight, just lacking in some areas, still, do investigate!

Here's the good news; with this new record, we're generally spared the "hey let's be back in the charts" schtick and there is much more focus on good songwriting, something that exemplified the 2002 and 2003 releases mentioned above. 8 songs; the consistancy is back on the wonderfully driving "Moscow Underground" familiar yet exciting, the perfect opener. The single "Rockets" is [to these ears at least] perhaps the weakest of the new material [a common Minds problem when it comes to recent first singles] but is not a bad song. Next up is "Stars Will lead The Way" too short and sweet and is perhaps the obvious comeback single, [watch this space!] it elbows it's way into the room where "Rockets" just shuffles hoping to be noticed. Simple Minds debuted "Rockets" as the first new song from this collection and many inlcuding myself were unimpressed, however it isn't particularly symbolic of the record as a whole.

The title song is an excellent groove [the groove is back!], echoing some of 1998's flawed, but rather fine, "Neapolis". "Light Travels' written by Sean Kelly, has been on the Minds shelf for sometime and only now brought to life, it is worth the wait, slow and sultry, with a guitar echoing 1995's single "Hypnotised" and a real opportunity for some er... "singalong" in it's "hello, hello" hook.

The final song "This Is It", is a fabulous song, one of those first listen tunes we all hope for now and again by our favourite artists, lyrically recalling an album like "Street Fighting Years" [1989] but with the kind of dynamic that era lacked. The rhythm section never really has a break on the record and given the fact that Simple Minds music was built on that very aspect, it is good to see that so prevalent again, ta, Mr Duffy and Mr Gaynor.

The covers project "In Search Of The Lost Boys" is obviously a sticking point for many fans and they pull off some better than others; Simple Minds were never really a "kick over the mic stand and flip the audience the bird.." kind of 'rawk' band, so on some of the covers it doesn't quite gel, however they do a decent run through of Siouxie's "Christine" and an interesting turn on "Teardrop" [Massive Attack]

Funny, "Teardrop" -> Liz Frazer -> Cocteau Twins who took their name from an early Minds song "..full circle again.." indeed Jim!

Very good album.
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on 9 April 2009
MOSCOW UNDERGROUND : Brooding, dark opener, with a visceral Eddie Duffy bassline which relentlessly kicks at the senses. Multi-textured dense song on nodding terms with Swimming Towards The Sun, sneaking the guitar riff from the Mind's 2003 retelling of White Light/White Heat. Dark lyrics linger on darkness, loneliness and a world out of control.

ROCKETS : Upbeat Charlie Burchill rocker from the Gordon Goudie/Charlie Burchill partnership with a riff that embeds itself in your brain. Chosen as the first single, but that was a tough choice for someone to make.

STARS WILL LEAD THE WAY : Another single contender, another song built around one of Charlie's unforgettable riffs. A double-whammy on the senses when heard immediately after Rockets.

LIGHT TRAVELS : Light travels across the universe and all is well and all will remain well. A slow, Bowie style chill out track from the pen of Sean Kelly - but completely unlike Spaceface.

KISS AND FLY : Slow burner with an infectious chorus and crashing familiar guitar work from Charlie. Faint echoes of Mighty Joe Moon in the guitar sound.

GRAFFITI SOUL : Another grower built on a chunky bassline and progressive guitar chords. The most lyrically familiar song from the set with many references to "Lightning" and "Footsteps."

BLOOD TYPE O : Quirky enigmatic track with exotic overtones thanks to the dulcimers used during the chorus. Only track on the album with the main melody on keyboards with Charlie's effects liberally spread over the whole track. Ends with a bubbly cacophony of blood monitoring machines.

THIS IS IT : Full bloodied triumphant fist pounding optimistic closure which sees the album out on a high. Another great Charlie number has he relentlessly cycles through the wonderful riff as the song builds to a crescendo. This Is It is not the full stop or terminal statement of the album but a mandate for the future:
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on 31 May 2014
I'm very pleased with the purchase of GRAFFITI SOUL! Very pleasantly surprised by how good it is, how solid. Let me explain...

I was a fan of their early & mid period work, all the way through STREET FIGHTING YEARS. After SFY I really haven't been that 'into' any of the releases, other than thinking an occasional song here and there was good (She's A River, etc). Each release I've heard since then just didn't do it for me - I'd listen once or twice and just think 'eh, ok'.

Really I bought GRAFFITI SOUL out of curiosity, wondering what this band I loved had come up with - though I didn't really expect to like it and thought it'd just get thrown onto the stack after an initial listen.

At any rate, at my first listen I realized GS had a lot more energy than I've heard in their last several releases. I also thought the recording sound was full & rich, and the production more organic and overall just better than their other recent releases.

Jim's vocals seemed to have regained a bit of it's swagger and confidence. The guitar riffs were catchy, some really great hooks - and the guitar sounds were interesting and varied as well as powerful. I can't say enough: GREAT RIFFS, classic Burchill guitars. The drums were fantastic, and the bass was locked right in their with it - tight playing and a really full sound. The keys cover a lot of ground sonically too and add the perfect touch in many places throughout. Backing vocals were really well done too, and the lead vocals production/effectation was perfect to complement Jim's style - as opposed to some of the dry, small sounding, boxey vocal recordings of their other recent albums. Finally, the production is playing to the band's strengths again.

And lastly...the songs. The songs are really good - very catchy in places, full of moody expression, varied in pitch and power. This is a really solid album all the way through, one great song after another.

My only complaints, which are minor: "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World" should have been left off as a b-side. It was done well but nothing to write home about and doesn't fit the mood of the album. Also, while the lyrics are really good throughout, a few of them had me scratching my head: what does "you bring me lightning" mean? Does it mean you energize me? I dunno. Minor complaint though.

I think this is certainly the best album they've done since STREET FIGHTING YEARS - and for the record, SFY is one of my all time favorite albums by anyone.
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New Gold Dream it aint and when I first heard it I thought that SM's had let me down like my other favourite band, James whose last album is plain dire! But I've listened to it for the last few months now and it just gets better. Ok the lyrics are not exactly Leonard Cohen and Jim Kerr has written much better words himself than appear on Graffiti Soul but it is musically powerful and live back in Decembaer 2009 at Wembley............well, that was fantastic. They are energetic on stage again! How can we descibe Simple Minds? Empires and Dance is a very different album to Street Fighting Years and Graffiti Soul is different again. And I'm sure the next album will be a whole new direction. Good music needs to evolve. This album represents an evolution.

The covers album that came with it. Well, thats not so great but you will be listening to GF so why worry.
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VINE VOICEon 26 May 2009
Yes I know the Minds never split up and kept on chugging, but their fall from grace was pretty complete. But they never gave up, and with this CD they are well and truly mining their old form. Definitely their best since Streetfighting Years, there isn't a dud on the album (not sure about the extra covers though). If you ever liked Simple Minds and found yourself wondering where that epic sound went to, seek this out. This deserves to sell far more than their old stadium rock muckers U2's latest, which is frankly dreadful. Where U2 have lost steam, Jim, Charlie and the boys have found an unlikely second wind, and more power to them! "Let me see yer hands" as Jim once shouted across Wembley Stadium.
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on 12 May 2009
Quite simply Simple Minds most complete album since their seminal 1982 offering New Gold Dream.

From the mesmeric opener of Moscow Underground to the crashing finale of This is it you hear melodies and riffs in every track that just get in your head and refuse to leave!

Definitely an album to be played loud during the hot summer months either with the car roof down or in the open air with cool drink in hand. Make it your soundtrack to summer 2009!

If you only ever bought one Minds album,and let's face it that was probably New Gold Dream, Grafitti Soul should be purchase number two.
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on 8 May 2009
Its been a long time coming for Simple Minds to produce an album that they were producing ten a penny 20 years ago, but its worth the wait. An 8 track album where there isnt a bad track. Stand out tracks for me are Moscow Underground - Stars Will Lead the Way - Bloodtype O and This is it. I enjoyed Simple Minds last album Black and White 050505, but that was just a warm up for this quality album. It may not be quite up there with albums such as New Gold Dream, but its the closest we have been in quite a while. Well done Simple Minds and about time too.
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on 20 June 2009
I just wanted to state that I was a Simple Minds fan in the mid eighties (faves: New Gold Dream, Sparkle In The Rain, Once Upon A Time) and then stopped listening to them because their subsequent efforts seemed overloaded with pathos and boredom, almost driving me to the edge of nausea, to be honest.
BUT! This record however grows and grows on me. Incredible, after all those years.
The songs are extremely well done pieces of powerful hymnal rock, made to move people in stadions, but for what they are, they're done with great sensibility, intelligence and power.
I love how the bass is quite prominent in the mix, that big, driving fundament along with Mel Gaynor's drumming, carrying the rest of the band.
I also love the hypnotic and sometimes dreamy overall feel of the music.
A real refreshing offering, and I listen to it every day since it came out.
The Simple Minds are back for real, and they even stand out as being timeless in all those modern periods of quick hypes and plastic music.
To be a little more polemic: no, don't bother comparing to U2, the Simple Minds have clearly overstripped them!

Lots of people need to buy this record, for lots of happiness.
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on 20 April 2009
The six or so tracks I've heard so far (cd isn't out yet) have really grabbed my attention. The other two reviewers have done the "Big Picture" and song-by-song lowdown, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Suffice to say, Simple Minds are still swinging and there's a lot of energy housed in their bat. Indeed, "Moscow Underground" and "This Is It" hit homeruns, straight out of the ballpark!

There's an undeniable energy and integrity to this band, a refusal to sit back and rest on its laurels or take the easy way out by writing pablum simply for the sake of charting. The new tracks are true to the band's legacy without rehashing formulas that worked very well for them in the past. It's what we've come to expect from a Simple Minds album -- but that's not to say it's predictable. Far from it. The music industry has changed since New Gold Dream, so have music-buyers - and the band's sound has evolved right along with 'em.

I strongly recommend this album -- esp. to anyone who may have drifted away over the years and forgotten what a powerhouse Simple Minds really is.
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on 1 August 2009
To me Graffiti Soul is the best album I've bought in the last couple of years. And for sure a REAL Simple Minds-album. The cover-cd is not as strong as I hoped for except for the Neil Young number. Living in Portugal I was very surprised by the VERY quick delivery through amazon.uk. The album was delivered through normal post within 2 days. I think that G.S. is a MUST for every Simple Minds fan and I enjoy listening over and over again.
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