CD: Duran Duran, Astronaut

(Epic )

Duran Duran are daft. They were always daft; it's just that their daftness achieved a kind of flamboyant grandeur in the context of 1980s pop and the early years of MTV, when they specialised in the kind of vapid excess the decade demanded. But they have been making cruddy albums for years now, and the return of the Taylor boys for a hysterically received reunion tour has done nothing to change that.

Even at their peak, the yacht-loving Brummie quintet made froth with delusions of depth - nobody bought Rio for the lyrics - so they're on firm ground only as long as they're being vacuously upbeat. (Reach Up For the) Sunrise (nice brackets!) would make an adequate theme tune for a breakfast TV show and Nice's blandly approving title serves as its own review. Before long, though, Duran Duran are adrift in an unforgiving sea of disco-dad dance-pop, anaemic vocals and lyrics too distressingly awful to repeat in a family newspaper. On Bedroom Toys, Astronaut's dizzying nadir, Simon Le Bon raps and a nation contorts with embarrassment. 1980s nostalgia: so much to answer for.


Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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