Sometimes I want to talk about things other than music. Although, I don’t, not really. However, sometimes, your day is too busy to think of something original to write about. I wanted to write about Simple Minds, a band that is way better than most people remember (right up until about 1985, that is), a band that is still making music today, but given that i just read a decent article about them on Stereogum, I didn’t want to potentially parrot anything I’d just read. Instead, let’s talk about television.
I watch TV, like most people do. We don’t have cable here at The Fault, so we watch streaming platforms, mostly Netflix but sometimes Amazon as well, and the odd new release movie. Yesterday we started watching a Netflix show called Dark, which deals with time travel and shifting perceptions associated with the same. The wife and I are suckers for a well done time travel story, and this one has started out well. It’s a -bit- hard to follow because it has a large cast of characters (in 2019 and 1986 versions) to keep straight, so it’s definitely a show that is best watched and not had on as background to something else like a mobile video game. The show centers on a nuclear power plant, a series of caves, and some odd time shifts, but that’s all I know so far (and it’s all I’m going to give you. Go watch it yourself.) It is a German-produced show, but dubbed into English – I wish they had left the native German with subtitles – but I do understand that there are lazy viewers out there who don’t want to, like, read, maaahn.
We’ve not finished the first series yet, but we’re halfway through it and so far, so good. Although I do think it’s one of those shows you may have to watch through a second time to catch all the nuances and missed clues, which, hey, there’s only so much time in the day, so I’m not all cool with that. Still and all, it’s decent, and you could do worse – the first (and only) season of The Mist was a massive letdown, with only the last 2 episodes being decent enough to warrant the (ostensibly free) cost of admission.
OK, yeah, Simple Minds. Screw up, a quick recap. Their first album, Life In A Day, is pretty sterile and lacking in focus. Their second album, Reel to Real Cacophony, is a good, experimental, post-punk album. It’s their third album, Empires and Dance, that really kicks. It’s electro-rock in a vein not dissimilar to PIL, only with more melodies present. They followed this up with Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call (an LP and EP recorded at the same time), which doubles down on the synthetics (a favorite here at The Fault) and electronic grooves. The end of their ‘experimental’ period was also the start of their ‘pop’ period, 1984’s New Gold Dream. It’s a perfect blend of pop and experimental, showing both sides of the band in perfect harmony. After that they went pop, did some song to a John Hughes film (you know the one) and kind of got boring. They’re still making music and they are touring, something I’d be – kind of – interested in, if I thought they’d be playing pre-1986 stuff only. However, I doubt that’s the case so, in one of the instances where I wish I had access to a time machine, I’d go back and see them in their pre-pop, experimental (though unloved) glory. That’s what a show like Dark’s possibilities could do for me – give me the ability to catch bands when I loved them, not when the general public decided which songs were good.