Simple Minds – Sparkle In The Rain (1983): Review

sparkle

Produced by Steve Lillywhite
Label – Virgin/A&M

Just on the cusp of world domination, the Arena filling sound was now fully evident and “Sparkle In The Rain” is the first true example that the band had moved from their original art rock new wave roots. Thumping dramatic rhythms, echo and reverb filled guitar and keyboard fills, and Jim Kerr’s passionate delivery would ensure that everyone in the stadium could hear them. The songs and mood of the album have a deliberate intensity and a potent imagery that takes centre stage, drawing ones attention to the feel of the album rather than the individual quality of each song. U2 producer Steve Lillywhite further enhances the dramatics to a crescendo, a soaring wall of sound.

simple

But take away the gloss for a moment, and concentrate on the quality of the songs and one finds that “Sparkle In The Rain” isn’t the classic that Simple Minds want us to believe it is. The album is built around the first four songs and if only the rest of the material was as good then we would indeed have a classic on our hands. “Up On The Catwalk”, “Book Of Brilliant Things”, “Speed Your Love To Me”, and “Waterfront” are all great Simple Minds songs, hook filled, dramatic passionate pieces. From there the quality is intermittent and the booming production tends to overcook the weak songs, particularly “East At Easter”, “White Hot Day”, and the poor cover of Lou Reeds’ “Street Hassle”. Yes, Simple Minds are making a serious statement of intent, and the depth of their songs was quite refreshing in the synth filled throwaway musical landscape of the early 80’s. But style and intensity only work if your songs have consistent and insistently strong tunes and “Sparkle In The Rain” only half succeeds.

7/10

Track Listing
1. “Up on the Catwalk” 4:45
2. “Book of Brilliant Things” 4:21
3. “Speed Your Love to Me” 4:24
4. “Waterfront” 4:49
5. “East at Easter” 3:32
6. “Street Hassle” Lou Reed 5:14
7. “White Hot Day” 4:32
8. “‘C’ Moon Cry Like a Baby” 4:19
9. “The Kick Inside of Me” 4:48
10. “Shake Off the Ghosts” 3:57

Waterfront

Speed Your Love To Me

Up On The Catwalk

See Also…

Hackskeptic’s 500 Greatest Songs: Simple Minds – Glittering Prize

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