Release Date: Nov 11, 2016
Record label: Caroline
One of the greatest revelations of Simple Minds’ Big Music tour of 2015 was their acoustic rendition of their 1981 single, The American. The original surely was one of the densest, most steely electronic records ever heard; the rework was as light as a feather, revealing just how well-written a pop song it was. Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill clearly thought so too, and 18 months later comes Acoustic; a 21st Century version of that old 90s staple, MTV Unplugged.
Jim Kerr’s former electro-poppers (un)plugging away Enjoying a revival thanks to the well-planned promotion of their back catalogue – which has ensured that Simple Minds are now as remembered for their cool early-80s output as they are for their late-80s pomp – the band continue to ring the changes with compilations, albums of covers and, after all these years, an acoustic set. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads The thrillingly named Acoustic is a strange album, seeking as it does to homogenise the Minds’ ever-changing sound, lending a weird Celtic tinge to material as diverse as The American and Sanctify Yourself, while KT Tunstall guests on Promised You A Miracle. Acoustic is a consistent collection that works best when the songs are strongest, and it’s movingly effective on the final track, a cover of Richard Hawley’s Long Black Train.
An unplugged retelling of many of the band's best-known songs, Simple Minds' Acoustic is an enjoyable if not particularly organic set. Employing the criteria used during the heyday of MTV Unplugged, the veteran Scots do indeed reimagine their catalog using acoustic instruments, though the amount of manipulation via effects and creative mixing makes for something a bit different. The resulting album is a sort of hybrid of stripped-down arrangements with just enough rock sweetening to reach the back seats.