'Paper Gods' - out now
At their heart, Duran Duran are still an experimental pop group not afraid to push boundaries and let their feelers go out into unconventional places. This is apparant right from the get-go on their new LP, with opening titular track 'Paper Gods' bringing fans a seven minute re-introduction to a band who clearly love their job.
Kiesza features on second song 'Last Night In The City', a brilliant disco offering that proves this foursome aren't afraid to go back to their roots whilst offering something completely new. She brings her incredible talent to the tune and adds a very necessary layer that elevates the track from being 'just another pop song', to essential listening.
Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers are further feature stars bringing their unique styles to track number four, 'Pressure Off', an eccentric electronic tune just begging to be heard live and on radio. Seriously, if the group, Janelle and Nile can all find themselves in the same place in the near future, this just has to happen on a huge stage.
Perhaps most intriguing about the album before initial listen was the Lindsay Lohan credit on 'Danceophobia'. The actress gives additional spoken word guest vocals to the song, and whilst at first this may seem a little odd it actually does really well in ensuring its worth. Lindsay's landed firmly on her feet here, being included in the album's most memorable track.
The group's stylings are as iconic and recognisable as ever. Simon Le Bon certainly still has that magical element to his voice which shot him to fame, whilst keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor make an unmatchable impact.
Production from Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair and Mr Hudson is absolutely spot on. Honestly these are some of the best-crafted songs of the year, notably so in final track 'The Universe Alone' which picks up the pace just when you think things are going to end on a relatively slow note.
In all, 'Paper Gods' is a collection of head-bopping, toe-tapping tracks that Duran Duran should be immensely proud of. Personality is stamped throughout all 12 tracks. They've got nothing left to prove at this point in their career, but have done well to remind people just why they're still remembered 14 studio albums into the industry.
This is a record that I cannot find fault with. It's a perfect length, features some brilliant guest vocalists and brings the magic of Duran Duran right back to the present day. It feels like a complete body of work, rather than the fractured and incohesive records so prominent in the present day. The group should be applauded.
Courtesy Male Xtra