- ARCADIA Election Day (Parlophone)
- Week Ending 9th November 1985
- 2 Weeks At #1
In pure commercial terms, it was probably never going to get any better for Duran Duran than the week in March 1983 when Is There Something I Should Know? debuted at #1 on the UK Top 40. Yet despite the patchy album, Seven & The Ragged Tiger, which followed at the end of that year, the new sound of Duran Duran was already forming.
It took the helping hand of Nile Rodgers, but The Reflex‘s reconstruction and then the overblown Mad Max-isms of The Wild Boys seriously beefed up their sound. Duran’s penchant for brittle, whiny choruses bolted onto snaking, guitar-driven verses – so often their undoing (see: My Own Way, New Moon On Monday) was replaced by a focus on funky rhythms and splashes of showy synths.
A View To A Kill, the Bond theme, continued the trend and kept the chart momentum going, but by then Duran Duran had temporarily splintered. The Taylor guitar axis of Andy (lead) and John (bass) went off to the US of A and made an album with Chic drummer Tony Thompson and jack-of-all-trades Robert Palmer on vocals, as The Power Station. Their single Some Like It Hot was a decent success, reaching #12 in Britain.
As for the other three, Simon, Nick and Roger set to work on their own side project, Arcadia. It says a lot about the contrasting mindsets of the two factions that one prosaically named themselves after the recording studio they were working in (and didn’t bother to give the album itself a title), and one chose a 17th Century French Baroque painting (“Et In Arcadia Ego”) as the inspiration for their moniker. Pretentious, nous?
What emerged, late in 1985, was a triumph; Election Day is a monster of a track, far closer in feel to the Duran of recent past than The Power Station’s lumpen funk-rock, and – we would later realise – pretty much the blueprint for the Duran of the next few years,once they returned in 1986 minus a couple of Taylors.