Simple Minds: Sparkle In The Rain

Five-CD reissue/remix of epic post-punksters’ 1984 album.

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In 1983, Simple Minds were teetering on the cusp, caught on the brink of imminent success. 1982’s New Gold Dream had been their most ambitious album yet, a brilliant, alchemic distillation of all their myriad qualities, from post-punk bristle to anthemic grace, from Krautrock to ABBA-like pop.

They toured it extensively – perhaps too extensively (the sheer excitement of playing to mass audiences amply evidenced across the live material on these CDs) – to the point when they felt they needed to return to the studio, if only for the sake of respite and reorientation.

They were in danger of crashing to earth and becoming an overbearing, thudding stadium rock band. This they eventually became, but not before Sparkle In The Rain, whose big, glistening tunes like Waterfront, Speed Your Love To Me and Up On The Catwalk still retain the upwardly kinetic thrill of travelling hopefully to the point of breakthrough and superstardom, rather than arriving at its disappointing, arena bowl destination.

Five CDs tell the story rather too thoroughly for the casual listener, but this collection is indispensable for hard-core fans./o:p

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.