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duranduran futurepast
Artist: Duran Duran
Title: Future Past
Genre: Pop
Release Date: 22nd October 2021
Label: Tape Modern / BMG


Album Review

Some bands plod on forever, viewing retirement as failure. Some join the nostalgia circuit, playing the hits from the glory days to increasingly frail and shrinking audiences. Some go out in a self-perceived blaze of glory, only to dig themselves up and shake off the moss a few years later, when the money seems tempting once again. If you are under 30, you will not have heard of these bands. If you are over 50, you will know all the lyrics.

And then there is DURAN DURAN. Despite swooshing to musical dominance at the dawn of the eighties, this is a band who look good, sound good and still retain a sly and canny relevance in each decade they traverse. Despite the odd misstep (the still execrable cover-version album ‘Thank You’), their trajectory has always been a patient, carefully controlled and managed cherry-pick through modern pop. As trends and fashions and styles come and go, the band know instinctively which bits to ignore and which bits to engulf. Like an ageless amoeba, DURAN DURAN gloop around stylishly in the musical petri-dish, like they not only own the place, but invented it.

New album ‘Future Past’ follows 2013’s ‘Paper Gods’ but - and the clue is in the title - there is far more of a nod to their legacy than just reinventing pop for the hundredth time. Opening with single ‘Invisible’, there’s an immediate flash-back to the cheeky grind of ‘All She Wants Is’. And if all things John Taylor still bring you out in a healthy glow and a sheen of perspiration, then the bass thrumming through ‘All Of You’ will do nicely. Simon Le Bon is in remarkably good voice throughout ‘Future Past’ - the horror of those high notes from the ‘Wild Boys’ days long since left wailing in the wilderness - and the choice of guests and collaborators, which can so often clog up a perfectly decent album, can’t be faulted. ‘Give It All Up’ is brought magnificently to life with the vocals of Sweden’s TOVE LO, and having an eye on the continuing fascination with all things Japanese makes the inclusion of CHAI on the wonderfully batty ‘More Joy!’ a stroke of genius. It’s hard to believe this is by a quartet of Birmingham men with a collective age of roughly 250 years.

The title track is a huge blob of arm-waving nostalgia that avoids maudlin and sickly by the skin of its well-preserved teeth. It’ll make you smile. It’s fab. ‘Tonight United’ - no, not the world’s worst named footie team - is a funky strut that would happily sit in any decade you chose to drop it in, and ‘Nothing Less’ is a perfectly acceptable stroll through pop’s peripheries. ‘Hammerhead’ however is lumpen, lyrically horrible and would without question have sunk into B-side territory back when such things existed. Even the rap by IVOREAN DOLL (an ‘internet personality’ I am reliably informed, whatever one of those is) can’t save it. But for sheer grace, it’s hard to beat the piano led beauty of closing track ‘Falling’ (courtesy of the hugely talented MIKE GARSON), another song that twists and turns through every facet of melancholic nostalgia, without drifting into self-indulgence. This is proper, grown-up pop, slick, smooth and sophisticated.

It has to be hoped that DURAN DURAN don’t retire. Or if they do, it’s because they’ve finally run out of ideas. Because few bands can show such consistent resilience and relevance while clearly having an immensely wonderful time of it all. And it would take a monumental grump to deny them that.


Tracklist

01. Invisible
02. All Of You
03. Give It All Up (feat. Tove Lo)
04. Anniversary
05. Future Past
06. Beautiful Lies
07. Tonight United
08. Wing
09. Nothing Less
10. Hammerhead (feat. Ivorean Doll)
11. More Joy! (feat. CHAI)
12. Falling (feat. Mike Garson)


Line-up

Simon Le Bon
John Taylor
Roger Taylor
Nick Rhodes


Website

https://duranduran.warnereprise.com / https://www.facebook.com/duranduran


Cover Picture

duranduran futurepast


Rating

Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10




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