The new Duran Duran is "out there", a good week before its official iTunes release on December 21.
Having spent the past day with it on pretty constant repeat, I can say that it truly is the return to the sound of the first three LPs it was rumored to be.
In fact, I'd say a few of the songs were recently unearthed out-takes from the 1981-1983 period if I didn't know any better. Album closer "Before The Rain" could have been rejected for 'Seven and the Ragged Tiger' for sounding too close to "The Chauffeur", "Being Followed" is a dead ringer for a follow up to that albums' "Shadows On Your Side" and "The Man Who Stole A Leopard" takes the creepy synths from "Tel Aviv" and develops them over a sprawling 6 1/4 minute suite. While it doesn't have a direct reference like others, "Blame The Machines" is such a mid-80's concept and even comes complete with a robotic female vocal breakdown at the end.
Best of all is "Girl Panic", a total throwback to those early Night Versions:
A. Maze. Ing.
Now, I'm a fan of 'Astronaut' - which I didn't realize was so unpopular with the Duran Duran fanbase until reading the anticipation for this album - which I thought was a good representation of what the core Duran Duran sound would be updated for the 2000's. 'All You Need Is Now' tops it by being an aural time machine back to the early-80's and would not have sounded out of place as the follow-up to 'Seven and the Ragged Tiger' had the band not splintered as it did. (We then, of course, wouldn't have gotten 'Notorious' and 'Big Thing' - both of which I love - so this way we've ended up getting the best of both worlds.) I only hope that the 12-track physical version doesn't spoil it by being too long, which was 'Astronaut''s downfall. I suppose we shall see in February. One runs the risk of early excitement leading to hyperbole - me? never! - but I think it's safe to say that this is (backhanded compliment alert!) the best album they've made in 20 years and is truly worthy of the Duran Duran name.
Bring on the tour.