Jim Kerr hit the nail on the head when, in a recent interview with this newspaper, he talked about the diverse nature of his band’s audience.
“It’s one of things about Simple Minds – people would say which Simple Minds? The art rock, electronic, post-punk, the pop, the political? We even did folk music with Belfast Child. There’s some scope there.”
Only perhaps the most loyal of fans would cleave to the band’s entire output through their 35-year existence.
Thankfully this three-CD collection allows adherents to pick and choose their favourite eras from 1979 to the present day.
Their early material, from the catchy Life in a Day to the itchy I Travel, teem with post-punk energy but it’s the run of tracks from the albums Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call to New Gold Dream that are perhaps their most interesting, capturing the band as they developed a sound that was cinematic in scope yet sufficiently arty to appease those who liked them in their earlier Velvet Underground-meets-Neu! phase.
From 1985 they shifted up a couple of gears commercially thanks largely to the transatlantic appeal of Don’t You (Forget About Me) and the radio staple Alive and Kicking; from then on it your enjoyment of CDs two and three very much depends on how overblown and message-driven you like your rock to be.
New tracks Blood Diamonds and Broken Glass Park at least hint that an artistic renaissance may not be too far away.