Walk Between Worlds, out now, is not exactly a concept album, but Kerr acknowledges a unifying theme between its eight tracks (11 on the deluxe edition). "There was a shared emotion in the songs," Kerr explains. "All the songs were kind of about abstract religious content, about faith or your faith or the maintenance of faith. It's something I think we've looked at before and it definitely resonates now, albeit from a much more experienced point of view. I would like to think it's just positive music, not in a kind of naive way, but I just think there's something about our music that tries to be optimistic." Kerr and Burchill, meanwhile, remained buoyed by a youthful crew of bandmates that includes three members who came on board just last year.
"It feels good to be working with younger people. It feels good to be working with women," Kerr says. "It's been a bit controversial with some of the social network sites, because people, fans -- and where would we be without them -- they don't like it when you change around things too much. But we do change things around and we feel that it's good to open the door. It's great to say '40 years!' and all that; There's a lot of strength in that. But there's a lot of dangers as well -- autopilot being one of them, doing the same old same old. You've got to open the door and let new opportunities walk in. That's what we've been doing, and these (new) people have been inspiring us. It really feels good."
Simple Minds kicks off a European tour on Feb. 13 at home in Glasgow, Scotland, with dates booked into the summer. Kerr is hoping the new album will bring the group into other territories, including North America -- most likely, he says, packaged with another band but most definitely not as part of a throwback package tour.
"I wouldn't criticize anyone, but that’s not for us," he says. "It's a little cheesy, that stuff. We're lucky in that we've been looked after, so it's not like we have to pay for the kids' school fees. So we don't have to do that. When we go out there to play, we're looking for something that's still working. We want to play to as many people as we can, but we don't want to go out as some museum act."