Mobile Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD Player
Sunfire Classic Tube Preamplifier
Tara Labs RSC Air 1 Interconnects
Kimber Kable Select KS-3035 Speaker Cables
MIT Z-Cord III Power Cord
Virtual Dynamics Nite Power Cords
Manley Labs Mahi Monoblock Tube Amplifiers
Red Rose Rosebud MKII Speakers
08/20/2003 9:30p ET
Brett Rudolph - Reviewer
Would you believe it has been twenty six years since Simple Minds starting making music? When I started doing this review, I though, hmmmm, Simple Minds, I remember when I was a kid and listened to them, and now, here I am again. Now I can’t honestly say why I ever stopped, probably stupidity, but then, everyone is entitled to that once in awhile.
Anyway, their album Cry has really caught my attention to be sure. Not only is the music wonderful but the effects heard within the music are great from supplemental vocals to synthesized sounds. They are as much a part of the songs as the lead vocals themselves, which sometimes is no easy task and usually ends up sounding more like superimposed mush.
This album was released by Eagle Records, a company devoted to bringing new releases from some of the most popular and newly popular recording artists and groups. It comes in hybrid stereo SACD format which really means you get two albums for the price of one. The first one is the standard red-book or CD version that is compatible with virtually and component that can play a CD. The second version, the stereo SACD version, contains all the same songs, but with far better resolution and fidelity.
The CD layer could easily be one of the best I have heard from Simple Minds and many other groups for that matter. The music is genuinely well recorded, mixed and performed. The album can be played at any volume level you wish and there is no loss of sonic quality that sometimes comes when an album is made for playing really loudly on a fairly poor quality system or car stereo.
Although it is difficult to pick a track that I liked more than another to actually review, I settled on number six, “Disconnected.” I will admit that the lyrics are definitely apropos to the song, but not the feeling you get when you listen to it. In fact, the spatial realism is so great that you could easily close your eyes and imagine the music being performed live, before your very eyes. The stereo playback is so intense it not only allows for the creation of a soundstage in front of you, but throughout the entire room.
As good as the CD version is, it pales in comparison to the SACD version, and believe me, I might not have thought that even possible without hearing it for myself. However, the improved sonic performance combined with the enhanced ability to recreate even the slightest detail makes it a definite improvement on all the tracks. I found that the tracks that have little subtle sounds, especially when they are directed at one side of the soundstage or the other were the most improved.
For example on track two, “Spaceface,” you can hear not only the same level of detail as before, but substantially more. As certain secondary lyrics or musical sounds are presented to the listener through one channel or the other, they become more realistic and integrate better into the overall presentation. In fact they do it so well that the meaning itself might become even more evident as you listen to the song itself, but then you need to actually buy the album to decide for yourself.
Ultimately everyone has their own taste in music and performances. This nice thing about Cry is that there is plethora of styles to choose from. While the genre itself might not change, the songs means and presentations vary quite widely, so not enjoying one song in no way means you won’t like another. In fact, while I admittedly enjoyed all the cuts, I can see where someone might enjoy one over the other.
This is one album that would be hard to find fault with if I were even willing to try, but I am not. In fact, while I normally don’t write many reviews about albums that don’t fall in the classical, jazz or blues genre, and this album has caused me to reconsider that position. If you are a fan of Simple Minds, perhaps like me were a fan ages ago, or are just looking for a disc with some great music that sounds amazing, you really should go to the store and pick this one up.
Copyright © 2002-2003 Matthew Rowe. All rights reserved.
Released:March 4, 2003