Their first proper new release since the commercial breakthrough of Once Upon a Time (a live album intervened) and Simple Minds makes a decidedly, noncommercial follow-up. Street Fighting Years is a moody, dark affair. The music is yearning and most of the songs are politically charged lyrically. It was a move that could (and did) bring commercial failure. However, Street Fighting Years is an artistic and elegant album that might lack immediate choruses but draws in the listener. The title track takes some dramatic turns that give the gentle melody added thrust. "Take a Step Back" pulsates and "Wall of Love" rocks with conviction. Slower tracks like the brooding "Let It All Come Down" and a spirited run through the traditional "Belfast Child" are well done. Other noteworthy tracks include a version of the Peter Gabriel classic "Biko" and the soaring "Mandela Day." It might not have satisfied the band's newly won fans, but Street Fighting Years is an interesting, enjoyable album with some truly lovely moments.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Demalon