By Gina Arnold
Updated April 26, 1991 at 04:00 AM EDT

Once my father, ever mindful of my interest in rock & roll, informed me that he’d just been on an airplane with a popular Scottish rock band called the Dunderheads. It took me a moment to realize he meant Simple Minds, a band that back in 1985 seemed anything but stupid. But when singer Jim Kerr flutingly intones, ”When you cry, it rains [in] Africa” on Real Life, the band’s 10th album, one can’t help but feel that he, at least, has turned into a simpleton. Actually, Real Life isn’t so much dumb as completely tongue-tied, both musically and lyrically. On it, the band tries to cover up Kerr’s lack of lyrical content or conviction on each number by working up a groove, but they’d have to be an innately funkier bunch to make songs like ”Let There Be Love” and ”Let the Children Speak” work because of their rhythm tracks alone. The record has meandering melodies, slow, ringing keyboard chords overlaid with Kerr’s vaguely sad, vaguely Sting-like sensibility — and no rock & roll core whatsoever. It’s nothing like the majestically atmospheric art-pop this band of Scottish ghetto kids, who once worshipped David Bowie and Lou Reed, are capable of playing. No wonder the dunderheads sound lost. C-