Simple Minds includes: Jim Kerr (vocals); Charlie Burchill (guitar, keyboards); Peter Vitesse (keyboards); Malcolm Foster (bass); Andy Duncan (percussion).
Simple Minds' first '90s album is also the first album where the group is reduced to the duo of singer Jim Kerr and guitarist Charlie Burchill, plus backing musicians. Kerr and Burchill, always the band's musical core, handle the transition from band to duo with grace; REAL LIFE sounds more like a classic Simple Minds album than anything they'd released since 1984's UP ON THE CATWALK. In places, however, the resemblance is slightly too close.
The single "Travelling Man" bears more than a little likeness to the 1984 hit "Waterfront"; even more blatantly, "Let the Children Speak" is simply the 1981 instrumental "Theme for Great Cities" with added new vocals and lyrics by Kerr. On the other hand, better that Kerr and Burchill plagiarized themselves than repeat the Springsteen-meets-U2 sound that marred 1989's STREET FIGHTING YEARS.
Rolling Stone (6/13/91) - 2.5 Stars - Fair - "..sketches passing for songs ...what might have been the band's most cohesive record misses, if only by frustrating inches."