WITH their latest album going straight in at number three in the album charts, Simple Minds’ guitarist Charlie Burchill can afford to allow himself a wry smile.

Walk Between Worlds is the band’s 19th album in a career which is approaching 40 years.

“People keep saying it’s 40 years but we want to try and keep that under the radar,” laughed Charlie. “Jim and I are definitely not counting the years, that’s for sure.”

Singer Jim Kerr and Charlie have seen the band they formed on the south side of Glasgow become one of the most successful rock bands in the world selling over 70 million records.

But Charlie reveals that they are as passionate about their music as they were when they first set out.

“That excitement around a new album, you still feel it,” said Charlie. “A few years ago people were saying that the album format was endangered. I have to say that we went through that whole conversation about whether we should continue to make albums, but we soon realised that’s what we do, we make records and we won’t change that.”

To mark the album’s release, the band will be undertaking three special shows including a date in Manchester next week.

The second half of the show will see them performing hits from their extensive back catalogue including Alive and Kicking and Sanctify Yourself but for the first half there will be an on-stage interview as they introduce songs from the new album.

“We’ve always been against doing an entirely new album as part of a tour because people get bored by it,” said Charlie. “They don’t know it well enough at that stage and want to hear the old stuff.

“So we said the only way to do it is not to overload them with eight new songs in a row – people can’t digest that. So we will talk about how these songs came together and what the song is saying. That way when you play them the song it makes a bit more sense.

“We did an acoustic tour recently and in between the songs Jim did a lot of very funny anecdotes and stories which sort of inspired these shows.

“Also I’ve been to see tons of bands recently and the thing I’ve really noticed is two hours of just being assaulted by sound is too much. You do need that light and shade during the evening, so that’s what we are going to try and do with this.

“I think we’ll all discover more about it when we do the first show but I think we’ll talk about a couple of songs then play them then go back a talk about a couple more.”

Having the confidence to try something so radically different is, Charlie believes, one of the benefits of being together for so long.

“Every time we go out now we want to shake it up all the time and change the format,” he said. “After this length of time if you can’t really open up and try stuff then what was the point in the first place?”

Walk Between Worlds is a classic Simple Minds album but the youthful swagger of early releases such as Life in A Day and Reel to Reel Cacophony have been replaced by a more mature approach.

“After this length of time we just have more experience,” said Charlie.

“Whenever we are working on records or writing them, the process is always the same. We always looking for a melody; a context. What is this music? What’s it doing? We have got better at identifying that earlier on and sorting out what isn’t necessary to put that particular message across.

“In the past we would elaborate for days and it wouldn’t be necessary. I think that’s what changes as you go on. You can still have your identity and all your quirkiness but you get a little bit better at honing the focus of the arrangements.”

Simple Minds, Albert Hall, Manchester Wednesday, February 14. Details from www.gigsandtours.com. The band have also announced a Grandslam tour in August and September with the Pretenders