1974, Music

Sparkle in the Rain (1984) by Simple Minds

What do you do when you’ve heard one band your whole life and not another, and then you hear the second band and they sound a lot like the first? But, the thing is, the second band was actually first, and really doesn’t sound that much like that first band.

This is my first experience of Simple Minds and I suspect what I am thinking of is really going to bother bans of the band: wow, do they ever sound like a less, interesting, less bombastic U2. I understand that’s not fair – Simple Minds was first (by album release, anyway) and there’s something reductive about saying one of the most famous Scottish bands in the world sounds too much like the most famous Irish band – but I can’t help what I hear.

Jim Kerr sounds like a Bono with less range and a few more tics. He doesn’t always sound like Bono but he sounds like him an awful lot. That is probably the biggest hurdle for me. Because the music behind him doesn’t really sound like U2, at least U2 once they met Brian Eno. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing though because nobody here is as distinctive a musician as The Edge, and this music is much closer to conventional “pop post punk” than it should be. So the band doesn’t really sound like U2, but at least U2 sound like U2 and not like whatever this is.

I do wonder what I would have felt if Jim Kerr didn’t share a range with Bono but I would like to think that I would still be fairly unimpressed by the music. Though listed as “New Wave” this music sounds to me like what would happen if you removed most of the idiosyncrasy from post punk, and upped the melody. (In defense of Simple Minds, this is what U2 sounds like, only U2 has a distinctive guitarist went Phil Spector on us.)

Anyway, until I can get over the similarities, I cannot imagine hearing Simple Minds without thinking about how they are not as good as U2. And I am not even a U2 fan.

6/10 I guess

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