Twist/Run/Repulsion: Simple Minds X5

Jim Kerr and co have just released X5, a limited edition box-set of their first five albums: Life In A Day, Real To Real Cacophony, Empires And Dance, Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call and New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), complete with bonus material. I read one blogger comment that this set could have been called “And Now You Don’t Have To Bother With The Rest Of Their Stuff”.

He’s right, of course. These 5 albums represent the best of Simple Minds; before John Hughes and Don’t You (Forget About Me), before Belfast Child, before…well, before they went crap. These early albums were about as experimental as a band could get while still retaining a semblance of accessibility necessary to expand their audience. Like the best bands they grew with each record, experimenting with electronica and krautrock waaaay before it was popular to name check bands like Kraftwerk and Neu!

Now it’s 2012 and bands are name checking early Simple Minds as a seminal influence. LCD Soundsystem, M83, The Horrors, Kasabian, Radiohead have all stolen from these first 5 albums. Actually, let’s call it four, as no one is going to say the debut (Life In A Day) altered or inspired their life in any way, shape or form. Their 1st great album, and probably their weirdest and most experimental, was the terrific Real To Real Cacophony, and the great tunes and albums kept on coming until they reached the top of the mountain with New Gold Dream. 4 great albums in only 4 short years.

If you have even the slightest passing interest in post punk music, or new wave, or art rock, or krautrock, you really should give this box set a go. It’s only about $35, the cost of half a tank of gas.