Simple Minds
New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)


4.5
superb

Review

by Hodges5 USER (5 Reviews)
May 9th, 2016 | 27 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Simple Minds’ 1982 opus rewrote the rules for the grandiose 1980s sound that went on to influence countless bands throughout the remainder of the decade.

The moment every aspiring band dreams of is the instance of their transition from ‘struggling act’ to a newfound musical sensation. The usual requirement for such a conversion is reliant on the band’s breakthrough into commercial markets. For many, this regretfully never occurs, but for the vast number of bands exposed to the light of fans and fanatics, the transition is monumental. Breakthroughs come in many different and unpredictable forms. For Scotland’s own Simple Minds, their breakthrough arrived three years and fives albums into their professional career. 1982, as fans and critics would profess, was the band’s most fruitful year, despite their coming years of success and fame. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) is both widely considered the band’s breakthrough and their most successful record at the time. However, a common trait exists in Simple Minds’ releases in that this record, and the large majority of their discography, failed to make a dent in the US commercial market. While the US market was feeding off of the recent U2 release, the American public, clearly, was not ready for the music by the band that influenced their counterpart, U2, like no other.

The level of mastery evident in the music that makes up Simple Minds’ breakthrough merited them high praise in their native continent, but failed to stir much reaction overseas. In hindsight, it took the United States until the Breakfast Club before people began noticing the thunderous drumming of Mel Gaynor (then merely a session musician in 1982), the reverberating virtuosity of Mick MacNeil’s keyboard prowess, the inescapably powerful bass performances of Derek Forbes, the reverb-drenched soars of Charlie Burchill’s guitar proficiency, and finally the shaman-esque voice of Jim Kerr. Perhaps one may have the audacity of claiming the US had entirely missed out on iconizing a band duly deserving of that status. Nonetheless, the questions still manage to arise in the minds of fans regarding how commercial market overseas continue to overlook the band. Thus, those individuals with the above claim ought to stand by their audacity.

New Gold Dream is inaugurated by the commencing notes of “Someone Somewhere in Summertime,” which carries the listener in the mid of a spatial endeavor with no intentions of descending to reality. This song’s dominating force is the intertwining of Burchill’s guitar and MacNeil’s keyboards, which open up a myriad of opportunities that the band is not afraid to take into account. The record ensues with the treble bass driven composition, “Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel.” The hit of the record arrives third in the form of “Promised You a Miracle.” The beauty of Simple Minds is that their delicate studio work is nothing but sonically exponentiated in a live format, a technique that expands the hit single into a completely new and expanded record. The emotionally charged “Big Sleep” brings the Doors influence into the record while the instrumental “Somebody Up There Likes You” takes the emotional appeal to a heightened level of integrity amongst the musicality within the melodic instruments. The title track emerges in Side B as a bass driven original versus the keyboard driven live renditions. “Glittering Prize” comes into the fold as a promising song with lyrics suitable for an anthem while the following song takes Simple Minds into a riff-driven composition, “Hunter and the Hunted,” which features the unusual, yet seamless collaboration with legendary jazzman Herbie Hancock. Finally, the album comes to a close with the gradual rhythmic build of “King is White and in the Crowd.”

In retrospect, New Gold Dream may have lacked the American praise, but continues to hold Simple Minds’ place as one of the most respected bands of the 1980s New Wave craze.


user ratings (47)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jethro42
May 9th 2016


14109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

''The emotionally charged “Big Sleep” brings the Doors influence into the record''



I couldn't agree more. Jim Kerr and Jim Morrison have the same kind of depth and power in their voices imo.

Excellent review, posd.

TwigTW
May 10th 2016


1838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review--one of my favorites from the 80s.

Digging: Thomas Feiner & Anywhen - The Opiates Revised

e210013
May 16th 2016


678 Comments


I was absent in Sputnik for a week. I was visiting Rome and Florence, two really fantastique places to go to. So, only now I could see and read your review. Sincerely, I liked what I read. I agree with the other two members. You really did a nice job. This is also, for me, one of my favourite albums of the 80's. Have a pos and welcome to Sputnik, dude.

zakalwe
May 16th 2016


17682 Comments


Shock horror, three of the biggest dudes around actually have shite taste on occasion.

Digging: Autolux - Pussy's Dead

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
May 16th 2016


7498 Comments


Called out :D

Digging: The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk

e210013
May 16th 2016


678 Comments


@ zakalwe

In the first place, I must confess that I'm very honoured that you consider me one of the three biggest dudes around, actually, on Sputnik.

In the second place, and as a truly prog head, I never hid my unpleasantness, in general, by the music of the 80's. I think I have made it very clear in some of my comments before, that I'm a huge critic of the punk movement that appeared in the end of the 70's. I always thought that it almost ended with the prog rock music. However, I always sustained that the appearence of the new wave movement was a very positive thing, which brought to us some very interesting and diversified groups, such as, The Stranglers, Television, U2, Joy Division, New Order, Dire Straits, Fischer-Z, The Cure, Ultravox and Simple Minds, only to mention some of them, and which aren't properly considered prog groups.

As you can see, my musical universe is bigger than prog, despite I consider myself a truly prog head. I also love classical music, especially the baroque period, namely J. S. Bach.

So, I really can think that we can like of different types of music. Of course I know that the music of Simple Minds is much more closer to the pop music than the rock music and it as nothing to do with the prog music. However, I think they made some interesting things especially in the beggining of their musical career, which this album is one the best examples, in my humble opinion, their best effort.

However, I respect your opinion and I know that Simple Minds isn't properly a love band by a truly prog head. Anyway, this is what I think and thanks for you share your opinion with us.

Cheers, dude.

KILL
May 16th 2016


77800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice one man this albums great in any mood and zak is a bender basher dont mind him

e210013
May 16th 2016


678 Comments


Thanks, KILL. I appreciate your comment.

zakalwe
May 16th 2016


17682 Comments


Worker e210013 opinions are forbidden. Now get back in line, never speak and remember to clock out. You are below Bach which can only be enjoyed by management. Know your place. Any more lip and you'll be subordinated into soap.

Who the hell are fisher z?

Jethro42
May 16th 2016


14109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah zak must be listening to Simple Minds in secret.

And about the new wave bands you mentioned, e21, I grew up with a lot of them, but in the 80's and 90's I kept on listening to prog, neo prog and added a big portion of Jazz. Despite it, I listened to bands such as Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Neil Young, The Police, Dead Can Dance, The Cure, U2, Dire Straits, Simple Minds and a very few punk bands cos I found them rather repetitive and similar one to another.

As for you, e21, prog always came in the forefront.

KILL
May 16th 2016


77800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can imagine zak driving round in his cavalier convertible with his aviators blasting this at full whack as he screams EIGHTY ONE EIGHTY TWO EIGHTY THREE EIGHTY FOUR at his poor kids in the back

zakalwe
May 16th 2016


17682 Comments


Japan - Quiet Life is me soundtrack for that sort of caper.
I've always looked like a total berk in aviators, Ray bans and Oakleys thank Christ..

KILL
May 16th 2016


77800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol is that the bono look

zakalwe
May 16th 2016


17682 Comments


Aviators - Try Hard
Ray Bans - Shoreditch wanker
Oakleys - Bellend cyclist and or nobber Copper

e210013
May 16th 2016


678 Comments


@ Jethro

It's the same with me, dude. I listened the same bands as you. After all, we belong to the same musical generation. All the bands mentioned by you are also shared by me.

Jethro42
May 16th 2016


14109 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers man. Here are two lists concerning the 80s. Mine contains these that came at the top of my head, and no punk albums to be found (you could read some of the comments for more ideas), and one more complete, done by BigHans.



http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=280733&listid=54801



http://www.sputnikmusic.com/list.php?memberid=429519&listid=73137

e210013
May 16th 2016


678 Comments


Thanks, Jethro. I'm going to do that.

TwigTW
May 17th 2016


1838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Aviators - Try Hard

Ray Bans - Shoreditch wanker

Oakleys - Bellend cyclist and or nobber Copper"





I'm wearing Ray Bans while writing this, lol.



Musically, I think of the 80s in the same way that I think of the 50s. The 50s don't begin to compare to the jazz that came from the 30s and 40s. All that sock hop, rock around the clock, 50s BS seems very silly in comparison to me. I wish the jazz kept on instead, but I'm sure it's a different story if you were a part of the 50s scene. Same thing with the 80s . . . It's hard to imagine now what a breath of fresh air the 80s were after 20 years of non-stop classic rock. Finally there was an alternative that was new and fresh: synthesizers, synth-pop, sequencers, Etc. They paved the way for (almost) everything that came after. That doesn't make everything from the 80s a classic. It's a transition period, and transition periods are often pretty bumpy, but there is some great music if you take the time to look around.



Should I point out that Ray Ban is a company, Aviator is a style of Ray Ban, and what most people mean when they say 'Ray Ban' is actually the Wayfarer style-- or will that only make me look more of a 'Shoreditch Wanker'? ;-)



zakalwe
May 17th 2016


17682 Comments


"I wish the jazz kept on instead" Total dude.

I always think of aviators as them big mirror style top-gun numbers.
Ray bans as the classic wayfarer style.

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
May 17th 2016


7498 Comments


I'm now picturing Zak wearing a retro sun visor



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