So Red the Rose


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So Red the Rose Review

by Kelvin Hayes

Arcadia was the arty quarter of Duran Duran's side project. Members Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes were left to complete it after Roger Taylor left the group. They still strove to create the "western evocative of east" blueprinted by Japan's Tin Drum. They didn't achieve it with this, but it's certainly the best album Duran never made. Like earlier work Rio, the sleeve perfectly describes the record inside. The opener "Election Day" is darkly romantic irking toward erotic and has brass stabs not dissimilar from their Bond score View to a Kill. The following songs are lighter: "Keep Me in the Dark" and the U.S. single "Goodbye Is Forever." "The Flame" has a sharp beat and sultry bass groove that nods at Nile Rodgers. Two dream works, "Missing" and "Rose Arcana," precede "The Promise," which guests Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Sting, and Herbie Hancock. "El Diablo" has a latin flavor but still sounds like two Englishmen daydreaming of an escapade to El Salvador. Finally, to the dramatic splendor of "Lady Ice," a fantastic conclusion to a very good album. Thankfully, Arcadia chose not to pursue this album like their other Duran offshoot.

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