Veteran Scottish rockers Simple Minds have just released their 18th studio album, Direction of the Heart.
Frontman Jim Kerr tells ABC Audio that he’s proud of producing an album of Direction of the Heart’s quality this late in the band’s career.
“I mean, 18 albums in 45 years, and still to be wanting to be in there,” Kerr enthuses, “Still to be wanting to surprise ourselves. Still to be wanting to live up to a name we have made for ourselves. I think there’s a real commitment to it, and I think there’s some great tunes.”
Kerr says that while the band began working on tracks for the album before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the record was written by him and his Simple Minds co-founder Charlie Burchill in the middle of the health crisis in Sicily, Italy, where Kerr has a home.
The singer says the pandemic afforded him and Burchill time to let their creativity flourish.
As Kerr explains, “[W]ith no distractions, because there was nothing else, not even the football matches were going on … we set to work, I think, with the kind of commitment that we’ve never had since those young early days [of the band].”
Kerr notes that Simple Minds’ goal for the project, as described in a press release announcing the record, was “to make a feel-good record in the worst of times.”
Musically, Kerr says the band sought to combine elements of classic Simple Minds songs with modern sounds.
“[W]e started off as an art-rock band, and there’s definitely a pop element and stuff, and I think that’s still the sweet spot for us,” he maintains. “If we can conjure up the old days, but somehow … make it feel in the moment … that’s the challenge, really.”
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