Simple Minds signed to Chrysalis for Néapolis and saw the return of Derek Forbes on bass. Néapolis signals a return to form while remaining on the cutting edge. Unlike U2, the band they have been most often compared to, Simple Minds have not lost themselves in techno beats and processed samples. Longtime fans will embrace this album; from the opening track, "Song for the Tribes," through the two singles, "Glitterball" and "War Babies," one immediately recognizes that classic sound. Other standout tracks include "Tears of a Guy," "Superman V Supersoul," and a potential third single, "Killing Andy Warhol." The biggest surprise on the album is "Androgyny," a welcomed instrumental in the tradition of their earlier works (see Empires and Dance, Sister Feelings Call, and Sons and Fascination). It's nice to know that in the 1990s, one classic new wave band hasn't forgotten what it is all about. Unfortunately, Chrysalis felt there was not enough of a following outside of Europe to justify the worldwide release of the album.
From the Vault is a neat little rarities collection from Spock's Beard originally released in 1998. The CD contains demos, alternate mixes, live cuts, one Japanese bonus track, and two cover songs. For the Spock's Beard completist, From the Vault is a must have…
Following the history lesson of volume 1, The Perfect Beats, Volume 2 reaches a little wider in its selection of electro-boogie, hip-hop, and freestyle oldies. This seems to be the set's unofficial "happy" disc–some of the fastest cuts are on this volume, as well as the lightest and most playful.
If he were so minded, Jordi Savall might hand copies of this CD out to new acquaintances as the musical equivalent of a calling-card. True, he appears here only in the guise of soloist, whereas a more complete portrait would need to include samples of his work as director and conductor; but as an illustration of the range of the viola da gamba, this generously filled disc is exemplary. And although the calling-card might not be handmade, it is the nearest thing to it, since Alia Vox is Savall’s own, newly established label.