Published On: Thu, Oct 26th, 2023
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Duran Duran’s Danse Macabre – A monster mash-up by an 80s’ powerhouse | Music | Entertainment

This Halloween special begs the obvious question – trick or treat? A bit of both is the honest answer.

Nobody alive or dead needs to hear an am-dram dance version of the Rolling Stones’ classic Paint It Black, even in the context of what Simon Le Bon calls a just-for-fun “crazy Halloween party”.

The Brummie stars stay firmly at the playful Carry On Screaming! end of horror for these 13 tracks, including old hits, covers and three new numbers. They set the spooky scene, suitably, with Le Bon’s Nightboat from their platinum-selling 1981 debut album.

The video for the original featured zombies (before Thriller) and eerie synths. This shorter, more percussive take adds extra effects.

Black Moonlight, the first of the fresh compositions, is bass-driven Jacko-lite 80s’ pop-funk.

Unsettling title track Danse Macabre, also new, conveys a sense of moody apprehension as Le Bon raps the verses over the low distorted snarl of the synths.

It also sees ex-band member Warren Cuccurullo guesting on guitar for the first time in 22 years. Two of the cover versions work well. Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer (with Maneskin bassist Victoria De Angelis) is smoother, more driving than the arty 1977 original, although far less uniquely weird.

No damage is done to Siouxsie And The Banshees’ gothic-pop gem Spellbound either, but their awkward take on Billie Eilish’s Bury A Friend doesn’t gel.

Better is Super Lonely Freak which starts with Lonely In Your Nightmare and morphs into Rick James’s 1981 US
smash Super Freak (as sampled by both MC Hammer and Nicki Minaj).

With original guitarist Andy Taylor and the great Nile Rodgers also joining the ghoulish party, this is a treat for fans, although the “comic” cover of The Specials’ Ghost Town horrifies for all the wrong reasons.

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