Robert Plant recently said that the desire of well-established bands to stay together was akin to clinging onto a life-raft. This doesn’t ring true for Duran Duran. 'Future Past' is the Birmingham synth-alchemists’ 15th studio album. Simon Le Bon & the boys continue to innovate and push their own boundaries, yet maintaining that signature Duran sound.
2021 sees the unit celebrate 40 years. Whilst original guitarist Andy Taylor continues to rock out elsewhere, Le Bon, Rhodes & the remaining Taylors (John and Roger) don't look like jumping off their glittering carousel any time soon.
Duran have enlisted some surprising contributors on ‘Future Past’, including Blur's Graham Coxon. He plays on the majority of the album and is a credited co-writer. The stealth and subtlety of Coxon's riffs work into your ears, no more so than on the lead single 'Invisible.'
Upcoming release, ‘Tonight United’, is an anthemic electro-explosion, produced by Giorgio Moroder. The LP teases us to a throwback of Duran gems such as the ‘Rio’ synths on ‘Give It All Up’ (featuring Swedish artist Tove Lo) and ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ melodies on ‘Anniversary’, which is an unfiltered, heart-on-their-sleeves thank you to the fans, crafted with freshness and originality. Mark Ronson co-writes and plays on the beautifully haunting ‘Wing.’
Le Bon, a gifted and often under-rated lyricist sings on the title track “Changes coming down the line / this life is not to our design.” This melancholy and soaring effort is one of a number of standouts. The brooding guitar solo in ‘Nothing Less’, has the heavy energy of Joy Division’s ‘New Dawn Fades.’
As this review goes to press, Duran Duran have brought down the curtain on this year's Isle of Wight Festival in bombastic fashion, testament to their iconic past and enduring future.
Listen: 'Future Past'.
Future Past is out now via TAPE MODERN for BMG.