DURAN DURAN: "Astronaut" (Epic/Sony)
*** Stars (out of four)
This is the first time since "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" that we've heard from the original lineup of Duran Duran. Yes - Simon LeBon, John Taylor, Andy Taylor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor are back together again. But if you expect to pick up their new album and be transported back to '83, you've got it wrong. This is the Duran Duran of new. Take a listen to the upbeat "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise," with its message of rebirth, or the soulful "Bedroom Toys," a song that will bring to mind the era of sparkling disco balls. Really, about the closest the band comes to sounding like the old black and white and striped all over days is during "Finest Hour" and "Point of No Return," and that's partly because of LeBon's silky-smooth voice echoing back at him.
-- Sandra Barrera