Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Desert Island Discs 108 - New Gold Dream by Simple Minds

108 - New Gold Dream (81 82 83 84) by Simple Minds  1982

Has there ever been an lp where the cover, the title , the music and the vocals fitted so well together.? This was from a time when pop music meant something and was being made by a bunch of people who if not  all as intelligent as they thought they were, wrote words and sounds lifting themes from films , books , ideas , all married to perfect pop songs ... and then ,as garry Mulholland wrote in his excellent Fear of Music ,Thriller came along and ruined it all. Well that is for another drunken conversation.

New Gold Dream was made at a time before berets , white smocks , and bloody doves. The music shimmer the lyrics can be summed up in Colours , Love , Gold,  and a singer whose ego somehow allowed for his vocals to be mixed so far back to create that woozy , summer dream feeling.

Oddly for an of guitars and keyboards weaving in and out of each other , it is the drumming that sticks most in my mind. It is a groove based lp and the fact that 3 different drummers are credited must mean that producer Peter Walsh deserves a lot of credit for the fell of the lp.

Never is that groove better nailed than in this track

Big Sleep - Simple Minds

I remember looking at the band photo on the back and thinking that they all looked so damn cool and prompted a first failed experiment using hair gel to slick back my hair.

I've no idea what the 81 , 82 etc countdown meant but it made for a great chorus on the title track, a tower of a song that didn't even make it as a single.  Then again when you release 3 bits of perfect 7" vinyl as Promised You a Miracle , Someone Somewhere and still for me their career highlight Glittering Prize then you can keep such gems as lp tracks

The lp is back in the news as the band have been touring their first 5 lps live and that made me dig out the old Paul Morley review here which is so pretentious it is funny.

I heard an interview with both Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill recently and they both seemed like thoroughly nice blokes. That fact and the reminder of how good this lp is is almost enough to forgive the cringeworthy Belfast Child and Mandela Day....... almost

You can buy New Gold Dream here


  1. I love this album and all the Simple Minds albums that came before it and the one right after.
    There is a beauty in the mix of the vocals and the music. You are right the drums drive this album, but not in a blustering, anthemic manner. They're the motor driving SM's gran turismo down night roads on Promised You A Miracle and the title track. But they are also delicate and hypnotic on Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel and Hunter and the Hunted.
    Derek Forbes' bass is outstanding as well on Glittering Prize and King is White and in the Crowd. Peter Walsh must get some credit for helming this album. He has s gift for subtlety.
    I think the countdown was, without the band knowing it, a premonition that the glories of their output would change after 1984. With the release of Don't You we all knew that things would change - and they did.
    New Gold Dream is the Zenith of their career. Sparkle In The Rain would continue some of the groove of NGD, but there would be a new bigger sound and attitude which would move away from the beauty of NDG, making the rest of their career very hit an miss for me.
    They have returned to some of their best work in years in the past decade and I am always

  2. I echo ECHO's comments... perfectly said.
    DA you're right on about the drums. When the chorus comes up and those drums crash in... pure magic.
    I can't believe you've got this classic so low in the pack!
    Comes up much later in my chart.

    #108 - RED BOX - Plenty (2010)

    - thanks DA for turning me on to this beautiful album. Certainly a marvellous departure from tribal tones of earlier releases.

    Stay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtVkz69LjFY&list=PL36718F46BB4CDA12&index=3&feature=plpp_video
    Brighter Blue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qunQyrr0WzA&feature=BFa&list=PL36718F46BB4CDA12

    Tim (cooking in Florida)

  3. Although they should have ticked all of my post new romantic boxes I never really got Simple Minds.
    Perhaps it was Jim Kerr's sh*ting dog 'dance/pose'; perhaps it was the U2 'lite' thing.
    I did like the cover though and have to echo 'Echo's' echo about the drumming; I'm not surprised it took 3 people to produce that giddy clatter.
    I agree with TT about Red Box and 'Plenty'; a fine comeback full of emotionally engaging adult pop.
    My 107 (keep up David) is Kate and Anna McGarrigle's 1975 debut.

  4. I'm with Trev here, Simple Minds never did anything for me. Kind of band that I would listen to if they came on the radio or TV but wouldn't go out and buy anything. Actually I lie, I have the 12" of 'Love Song'!
    # 108 for me is Dylan Mondegreens debut 'While I walk you home'
    Tim - Good choice.My favourite Red Box album by a country mile.
    Trev - Another new one for me .I'll pop over to Hissyfit for a listen
    By the way Dylan Mondegreen has just released his third album .If you like his first two , this is more of the same.

  5. Great post & excellent review! I don't believe I could have said anything better. I too, found utter amazement when tracking through this LP (on transparent marbled vinyl)! Everything about it had depth and meaning. It transported me somewhere else! Thanks!

  6. Mondegreen is intriguing; I was given 'Albuquerque; on a compilation' best of the year CD; maybe from you Phil; sounded a little too reverential towards Paddy to be taken seriously; might need to check that rush to judgement...

  7. I'll echo the echo of the echo of echo's comments! although apart form waterforn and up on the catwalk I didnt like teh blustery sound of Sparkle in the Rain and it was this lp that the doves , smock and beret started to appear.

    Pre NGD i was in the phil camp so they are one of those bands who I really like for one lp anything else could take or leave

    Trev - the shitting dog made me gaffaw out loud at work - many is the time we drunkenly tried that dance at the poly bop if only we had had that image as a reference point! I think you are going to race ahead , I'm only managing a post every 2 days at teh moment

    TT - Plenty is in my chart but higher up. i think NGD lowly position is more down to not having played it for a while - forgotten how good it was
    Phil thanks for the tip off re DM - I'm assuming he still wishes he was in Prefab Sprout!?

    Thanks for the comments Iano and RF


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