There seems to be a new trend in acoustic albums. Not since the heyday of MTV Unplugged has there been such an interest in having the hits stripped back. Status Quo are on their second and UB40 have just released their greatest hits unplugged. So it’s time for Simple Minds to shutdown their keyboards and hopefully turn the bombastic into the acoustic-fantastic.
Acoustic is a safe playlist of hits from their near 40 year old career featuring ‘The American’, ‘Alive And Kicking’, ‘(Don’t You) Forget About Me’ and a forgettable Richard Hawley cover of ‘Long Black Train’. Jim Kerr’s vocals are more whispered and have gained an extra rasp in his later years that suits this formula. Charlie Burchill’s guitar playing is sensational, even without his trusty effects pedals. Though something seems amiss. Surely they could add some piano or maybe a cello, just to add something more dynamic. Some of the best keyboard riffs, like on ‘New Gold Dream’, would have been a treat on the piano and omitting one of their most acoustic numbers, ‘Belfast Child’, just seems crazy. Elsewhere, the duet with KT Tunstall for ‘Promised You A Miracle’ seems more like a forced marketing affair and adds little, though Sarah Brown’s backing vocals on ‘Someone, Somewhere In Summertime’ are truly beautiful and create one of the stand-outs on the record.