Come-hither basslines courtesy of John "Essence of 80s Sex" Taylor? Staring-insoucianlty-into-space keyboards in the fabulous clutches of Nick Rhodes? A veritable succession of bracingly pretentious Simon Le Bon mots?That's most of the thigs that made Duran Duran so great in the first place, and they all turn up in the first three minutes of this!
But don't be fooled into thinking the superbly-titled RED CARPET MASSACRE is simply a retread of Rio's glories.
Instead, they've embraced their hip-hop side (yes, we know they've done this before - their cover of White Lines is by-word for 'ill-judged audacity') but this time they've got the likes of Timbaland on hand.
So while sometimes the changes are as cosmetic as the beefed-up beats of SHE 'S TOO MUCH, whose protagonist, brilliantly and somewhat seasonally, shatters "like a Christmas bauble", and sometimes there's actual rapping, like on the vibrant SKIN DIVERS, it's all inspiringly contemorary.
Not only does the finale LAST MAN STANDING, with it's soaring melancholy and techno swathes, resemble a millenial The Chauffeur, but a Timberlake-assisted NIGHT RUNNER is an awesome cousin to SexyBack.
Smash Hits (the 80s teen mag) may no longer beckon like it used to; smash hits, on the other hand, look like an unexpected given.
3 out of 5 Stars