SIMPLE Minds are in Leeds on Saturday, playing in Millennium Square on their Grandslam 2018 tour.

The veteran Glasgow band, now in their 41st year, are performing 14 outdoor shows in England, Scotland and Wales after releasing Walk Between Worlds, their first album of new material since 2014's Big Music, in February.

The record is bookended by two songs about faith, Magic and Sense Of Discovery. The first is a reflection on the desire and hunger of youth; the faith in their own abilities that Simple Minds possessed during their formative years. The second is built around the voice of an older narrator passing on wisdom and advice to a younger individual.

Lead vocalist Jim Kerr, now 59, reflects on the passing years and four decades of Simple Minds. "My daughter said to me, 'Could you have imagined playing for 40 years?', and I said, 'my parents weren't even in their 40s when we started and our heroes, Bowie and Roxy Music, were only in their early years'," he says.

"But with the old blues guys, it was written in their faces, this is who we are and this is what we do, and so if you had asked in 1977 'what would you want after 40 years?', we'd have said, 'we want to be a great live band going around the world', and 40 years later, we're still doing that."

Walk Between Worlds echoes the pre-CD days of 1982's New Gold Dream album in comprising eight songs in a 42-minute running time. "Ever since the CD came along, you had pressure to put more tracks on an album, but no-one does 13 great tracks. Some albums don't even have two great tracks!" says Kerr.

"But if you keep up the quality, 42 to 45 minutes should be good value, so we thought, 'let's go for quality, keep the focus' and that's definitely resonated with everyone."

Consequently, Walk Between Worlds is an album of two distinct sides, in keeping with the old-school album format that Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill grew up with as music devotees. "Side One" songs such as Summer and The Signal And The Noise revisit the glassy guitars and new wave dance grooves of the post-punk era, whereas "Side Two" explores more cinematic sounds, with both the title track and Barrowland Star wrapped in orchestrations recorded at Abbey Road.

"Walk Between Worlds is not the last eight songs we've written; certain songs find their time, like Barrowland Star, which has been around, in the air, for a while but you need a way to finish it, or to fit in with the rest of an album, so that there's a commonality," says Kerr.

"With Barrowland Star it's a continuance of us writing songs about places, like Waterfront being about Glasgow. Charlie and I were glad that Barrowland [the long-running Glasgow concert venue] still has its cheesy star-lit ceiling; occasionally they fall off and become memorabilia and in fact I have one framed in my writing room – though if you walked into my house, you wouldn't guess my profession as I don't have much memorabilia."

Kerr "kind of flits between Scotland and Italy" these days, spending his winters mainly in Italy, but Scotland will always have its pull on him, as does the need to keep Simple Minds alive and kicking, writing new material while also respecting the band's hit-laden past.

"It's a problem choosing a set list, but it's a great problem to have," he says. "The first tour this year was really about pushing the new album, playing smaller venues, with the hardcore fans wanting to hear new material.

"For the summer shows, there's a lot of boxes to tick and you want to tick as many as possible, giving the fans the songs they'd expect but we always like to play two or three that people wouldn't expect as well. Leeds is a big, proud city, so we'll give the show an extra push on Saturday."

Memories will be triggered of Simple Minds' first gig in Leeds four decades ago. "The Fforde Greene pub [in Harehills] was the first place we played there and I remember we got reviewed by one of NME's stringers," says Kerr.

Since then, 21 musicians have passed through Simple Minds' ranks, the present band comprising Kerr, Burchill, new percussionist Cherisse Osei, keyboardist Catherine AD, bass player Ged Grimes, multi-instrumentalist Gordy Goudie and backing singer Sarah Brown.

"Every one of those 21 musicians has brought great things to the band, and sacrifices too, but the biggest danger with us is same old, same old, so I just had this feeling in my heart when Simple Minds were on tour in Australia that it felt a bit autopilot and I knew we had to make changes, which is how this line-up came about," says Kerr.

"We put together a band specifically for the Acoustic album in 2016 as we couldn't have the usual rock band for that, so in choosing the band, we thought it would be specifically for that one record. But the energy, the ideas, they were bringing made me think, 'this is the thing we're looking for at this point in our career' and we've stayed with that line-up and added Cherisse, the new star of the show on drums."

Simple Minds play Leeds Millennium Square on Saturday, supported by K T Tunstall. Doors open at 6pm; Simple Minds will be on stage at 8.45pm.

Box office:

Charles Hutchinson