Picks and Pans Review: Liberty
These fab glamour boys have always had a rough time with the critics and won't fare much better with this release. Maybe the trouble is everyone knows what to expect from Simon LeBon et al.: Euro-glitz pop punctuated by silly keyboard riffs. (Admitted: When they hit a funky groove, you can't help moving a muscle or two to the beat.)
This album's tunes run from the sticky sweet pop of "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)" to the grittier (for Duran Duran) strains of "Hothead." But on the latter song, with sound bites of George Bush and TV anchors delivering bad news, LeBon breaks up the track with a lame rap that would have M.C. Hammer guffawing ("You use propaganda to manipulate/With the megabucks you protect the state").
On "My Antarctica," the band tries with some success to mix things up with a ballad, using barren tundra as a metaphor for a lover's isolation in a relationship.
But too many tracks are nondescript, and the Power Station-like rhythms of "Read My Lips" arc a poor substitute for the punch lost when Andy and Roger Taylor left in 1986. Maybe Duran Duran needs a name change. How about Last of the Durans? Sorry. (Capitol)