Album Review by EDF
Originally released in late 1979 as a follow up to their debut album, LIFE IN A DAY, also released in 1979, REEL TO REAL CACOPHONY brought them critical acclaim but little success. This is a Simple Minds that most people who followed them after their DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME) hit would be very unfamiliar with and at times will sound alien to most fans.
Coming out of the ashes of Punk came New Wave and the New Romantic sounds that followed were very heavily influenced with artificial keyboard sounds. Sounding more like very early Human League before they had recruited two backup singers or even early Ultravox, the tracks on this album have more ideas and sounds than their later stadium rock / radio friendly songs had to offer.
Keeping to the production sound found on most releases of this sort in the late 1970’s, there is a lot of reverb on Jim Kerr’s vocals that makes a lyric sheet a handy item to have. CARNIVAL sounds like the XTC track MECCANIK DANCING with bizarre musical breaks. PREMONITION and CHANGELINE have all the trademark sounds of the band Simple Minds would become half a decade later.
There are those out there who would appreciate this sort of sound and it’s more than likely they have never thought about checking out early Simple Minds. If you liked the mid 80’s Simple Minds, then stay away from this, as you will not enjoy it as much as you would wish you could. For anyone who is brave enough to try something different from that era, then you will be in for a surprise.