Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple Minds - Once Upon A Time (1985)

Seven years since casting off the docks as a sonic force of their own and within a heartbeat of time from 80's soundtrack incarnate The Breakfast Club (decent movie), Simple Minds exploded into the spotlight with Once Upon A Time in 1985, and took the world stage with some of their best material since the glamorous New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) three years prior.

The darkling synths from the early years have brightened considerably in light of newfound stardom, as evidenced by the kickin' title track. The production seems to have been made to accommodate the ensuing grooviness as well - otherwise, how would a brooding cut like 'Alive and Kicking' work as a single? Part of it is vocalist Jim Kerr - his yowling makes for a far more compelling study in deliverance than anything that tripe bands like U2 came up with in their "prime". It shuffles along with curious glances across the stadium platform, but never succumbs to unbecoming bombast, and that's a really curious quality in a record considering the circumstances behind the band which made it.

The mid 80's was a rather interesting time in pop music, and no band immortalized that muscular creativity better than Simple Minds, who melted down their influences and came up with something that holds up fine twenty something years past its providence. They may never be considered a lyrical pinnacle like The Smiths or a perfect snapshot of post-70's paranoia like the Talking Heads, but in everything else that matters you won't find a finer band.

Listen Here - "Sanctify Yourself"

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