On “Good News From the Next World,” the first new Simple Minds album in three years, the band moves away from the synthesizer-based sounds of its ’80s hits, turning to a more guitar-driven style.
While certainly more interesting to listen to, this new approach minimizes the band’s greatest strength: its hook-filled songwriting. Always more about style than substance, Simple Minds simply doesn’t pack the muscle needed to execute the trick.
That certainly explains why the 1,500 thirtysomethings who filled this ornate theater in downtown responded only to the old, keyboard-filled songs, simply waiting out the new tunes for the next flashback to the band’s back catalog.
And who could blame them? While such relatively likable new songs as radio hit “She’s a River” and “Great Leap Forward” sport a polished, big-rock attack and thoughtful lyrics custom made for Jim Kerr’s soaring vocals, the majority of the cuts from “Good News” (Virgin) just didn’t make much of an impact.
Which was just fine with the fans, who cheered and pogo-ed (and even, inexplicably, crowd-surfed) along with oldies “Sanctify” and “Up on the Catwalk, ” and, of course, “Don’t You Forget About Me,” a decade-old hit that’s worn out its welcome.