he Wrinkly Rockers Club thankfully, from time to time, provides the opportunity to indulge myself. For example, I got to spend Valentine’s night reviewing the Godfathers gig much to the (feigned) indignation of my other half. And now another golden opportunity comes my way, the chance to review one of my all-time guitar heroes – Simon Hinkler of the Mission and his new 5 track EP ‘Moving On’. And I can remember exactly when he became a super hero of mine. Late 1980s feet up after a hard week at my first job having left school, to watch Channel 4’s The Tube with Jools Holland and the late Paula Yates. Then my musical life changed for ever with the explosion from my TV screen of a driving sustained guitar sound as The Mission blasted into ‘Wasteland’ accompanied by a crowd going wild throwing hand fulls of confetti into the air in time with the guitar crescendos! Dry ice, sunglasses and cowboy hats. What the hell was this? It was Rock and Roll and I liked it! There then followed decades of being accused of being a Goth, which although not strictly accurate, was kind of evidenced to my friends by a lifelong love of the variety of formats that consisted of the Mission.
But with opportunities, often comes some trepidation. Not all members of successful bands go on to make successful solo records. Whatever did happen to Andrew Ridgeley? Would a solo record be any good?
However, Hinkler has a substantial track record behind him. His first band - Artery - from Sheffield formed in the early 80’s, with an album and Peel sessions, he moved on to play on the first Pulp album ‘It’ in 1983. He also spent some time the other side of the recording console as a resident studio engineer. Simon then joined the newly formed Mission in Leeds in 1985 contributing to four albums (including one of my favourites of all time), touring and generally living the Rock and Roll life style. A couple more projects, soundtracks and three years with an electronic three piece Mindfeel before he moved to the deserts of New Mexico in 1996. The music from the EP relates to that time in New Mexico and the photograph on the front of the EP cover was taken through his car window on the way to The Gorge Bridge, Taos, shortly before leaving his home there for the last time.
In 2005 Hinkler released his first solo album ‘Lose The Faith’ returning to the UK and playing with the ‘Goth’ supergroup The Eden House before re-joining the Mission for their 25th anniversary and recording two new studio albums.
But I must not review this offering as a Mission off-spin, as Hinkler’s pedigree demonstrates, there is more than enough individual talent to play with here. Yet I find the EP intriguing as it gives such an insight into the influence that Hinkler has had on the Mission sound over the years. The opening track ‘It Isn’t You’ has plenty of twirly guitar riffs to remind me of the core Mission sound I have come to love. So good so far, but this is still clearly his own work, which is fine by me. ‘Virginia’ is a pleasantly stripped back relaxing track which leads into ‘Friends’ recorded in a garage studio in Taos with a bunch of friends contributing to the chorus! Again, some insight into some of the Mission’s less well known and eclectic tracks such as ‘Mr Pleasant’. ‘Moving On’ is a sombre piece recorded in the same garage when all the friends had gone and ‘What More Do We Know’ will have the lighters (or mobile phones) waving along in time.
With the Mission currently on a break, this is a welcome collection of Simon’s songs spanning those years living in the back of beyond. "Every time I come back to making music I’m reminded why I started doing it in the first place” Hinkler says. This is not the Mission, but it has enough echoes to remind me of that legacy whilst remaining a substantial successful solo piece of work from one of my all-time favourite guitarists.
'Moving On' track listing:
01 It Isn’t You
04 What More Do We Know ?
05 Moving On