Thought they’d all died? Or had retired to become postmen, street cleaners and shelf packers in Tescos? Oh no. Simple Minds might have moved out of the spotlight but their work has continued a-pace. The band refused to become a nostalgia outfit. They remain a vital creative force. Their work continues.
This box set proves the point as it collects five albums covering 2001-2014: Neon Lights (2001), Cry (2002), Black & White 050505 (2005), Graffiti Soul (2009) and Big Music (2014). The latter spans two discs.
The mere existence of this box set is good news for fans because the first three albums in the above list appear on vinyl for the very first time. Newly-created sleeves (inner and outer) have been specially featured. You’ll even find bonus cuts from the CD releases here.
I’m being picky but I find it intriguing that there’s a sense of penny pinching when Big Music does not arrive as a gatefold but as a single sleeve, containing two discs, stuffed within. And yet, that issue is then turned over completely because each and every disc in this set arrives pressed in a completely different colour! So, go figure on that one.
What of the sound quality? Nicely balanced with an overall neutral presentation, the sound has a mature quality. Mature in terms of its solid, focused sound but also how the soundstage has been put together during the recording. The effect is to enhance the clarity of the music. Compression, if any has indeed been added, was never a problem during play. Hence, the mastering behaved itself in general terms.
I love the idea that the band still sees itself as a creative entity. Most mature outfits peter out in a fug of boredom and lassitude but Simple Minds continue to move forwards. Long may that continue.
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