No, it’s not the Killers dressed up in Duran Duran novelty masks. Astronaut is a full-fledged Duran reunion, from the Taylors times three to Nick Rhodes and Simon LeBon. The greatest band of the video age has aged into gallant mascara robots, but still brings the big choruses quite capably here. The cheeky electro tickle of “Bedroom Toys” and the title track’s kicky synth whir do Robbie Williams better than that cad’s own approximation of the famous LeBon preen, and “Want You More!” earns its exclamation point with dance-floor bump. It could be a Pink jam, and that makes sense with Dallas Austin, her producer, at the helm. Astronaut is a bit artificial, plastic with a shiny surface gleam. But if you can find any substance in “Rio,” I’ll dance across the Rio Grande. Even if the discoing doo-doo-doos of “Taste the Summer” are pretty vacant, LeBon can still sell a line like “Cool haze is reflected off your thighs.” And though “One of Those Days” is ultimately forgettable, that it could be a mid-’90s Blur single is totally awesome. That seems like the real point of Astronaut — it’s Duran Duran reclaiming their legacy from the wallets of their disciples, and putting collars back up in the process.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].