Simply Red – Big Love (2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44.1khz]

Simply Red – Big Love (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1kHz | Time – 00:46:09 minutes | 522 MB | Genre: Pop Rock
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz |  © East West Records

Simply Red release their first new studio album in eight years with Big Love out June 1st on East West Records. When the band announced a massive world tour to celebrate their 30th anniversary last autumn, main man Mick Hucknall started thinking about recording again. “Once I began wondering how Simply Red were going to sound, I started writing songs,” says Mick. And once he started, he couldn’t stop. Big Love is the first Simply Red album to feature only original compositions since 1995’s ‘Life’. All twelve tracks are written by Mick Hucknall and produced by Andy Wright. Highlights include the celebratory first single ‘Shine On’ driven by their trademark blue-eyed soul sound and ‘The Ghost Of Love’, a big soul song punctuated by wah-wah guitar and the kind of bold orchestral strokes that once powered Barry White and his Love Unlimited. The break has done Mick Hucknall a power of good, newly refreshed he now has a much clearer appreciation of Simply Red’s considerable legacy. He admits that the band’s last studio album in 2007, ‘Stay’, was an attempt to pull away from their sound. “With ‘Stay’ I was running away from Simply Red,” Mick admits. “But now I’m comfortable with the notion of us as a blue-eyed soul group. I had to stop myself fighting that idea. Our sound is original too. I honestly don’t know of another band that has pulled so many musical strands together.” Quite simply, Big Love is Simply Red at their best, 12 tracks to cherish. With a 16 date UK tour this winter, including 3 shows at London’s 02 Arena, Simply Red are once again a band in their prime.

Mick Hucknall and Simply Red are rightly inseparable in the minds of most listeners — he is the frontman and the star, the one constant in the band’s history — but the singer’s short-lived solo career of 2008-2012 proved there was a difference between Hucknall and the group. Big Love, the album the reunited Simply Red recorded to celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2015, isn’t as in thrall to the past as the vocalist’s two albums of covers, nor is it as comfortable with rock as 2007’s Stay. It is, as the title suggests, a record that is romantic to its very core, an album whose bones are as exquisitely smooth as its surfaces (the loungey tongue-in-cheek saloon song “The Old Man and the Beer” is the exception that proves the rule). Even when the tempo picks up a notch on Big Love — and it doesn’t happen all that often — the speedier songs come in the form of a slow-burning disco tune, an aesthetic that isn’t all that far removed from Simply Red’s enduring allegiance to the smoothest sounds of the ’70s, specifically Philly soul. At times, the overall veneer is a shade too clean, suggesting nothing so much as cocktail hour at a classy conference, but the fact that Hucknall and Simply Red choose to celebrate the softer, soulful sounds of the ’70s by doubling down on the smoothness does separate them from the legions of neo-soul divas in the new millennium. Let those singers scale operatic towers: this lot prefers to take it easy and is charming for it. –Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1. Shine On 03:11
2. Daydreaming 03:37
3. Big Love 04:09
4. The Ghost Of Love 03:15
5. Dad 03:54
6. Love Wonders 03:55
7. Love Gave Me More 03:16
8. Tight Tones 03:35
9. WORU 04:12
10. Coming Home 02:53
11. The Old Man and the Beer 02:53
12. Each Day 04:17
13. Shine On (Max Bidda Radio Mix) 03:03

Mick Hucknall – vocals
Ian Kirkham – woodwind, keyboards
Steve Lewinson – bass
Kenji Suzuki – guitars
Kevin Robinson – brass, backing vocals
Dave Clayton – keyboards
Roman Roth – drums