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July 25, 2024

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The Duran Duran Tribute Album
(Mojo Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Duran Duran was one of the most influential new wave bands to come out of the 80's. A group of guys realized this and went ahead to put out a tribute album for the band they love. Upon searching for acts to cover Duran Duran songs, they came across a wide spectrum of bands who were influenced by Duran Duran from Goldfinger to Eve's Plum, and from the Deftones to The Wesley Willis Fiasco. Once the search was done, they came up with fifteen bands to cover fourteen songs. That's right, after hearing Bjorn Again was doing "Girls on Film" Wesley Willis quickly replied "I'll do it better."

Goldfinger kicks off the tribute album with "Rio." They took the 80's pop hit and turned it into a fusion of rock, pop, metal, and punk. With a metal meets pop starting it quickly takes off. Then with the keyboards ring it quickly jumps into a bouncy pop-ska song. John Feldmann's vocals show the appreciation he has for Duran Duran, doing his best job to give the words the care he believes they deserve. Turning back into a metal/pop fusion, and then back again, it keeps jumping forward and backwards teasing the listener, but still giving the listener a good time. And of course, what would be metal without guitar solo's? Dropping the pop influences, they screw through some solo's and then bust into pure metal for a few seconds, before jumping right back into some poppy ska to tingle your feet. Ending with a punk crunch, they do the song justice. Buck-O-Nine's "Hold Back the Rain" is an amazing pop-ska-punk tune that will get you dancing and smiling, and dancing some more in no time. The vocals are strong, giving the song great depth. The horns are bright and melodic, helping the song bounce along a straight path of crystal clear beats and infectious melodies. The guitar plays a distorted upbeat, mixed in with some punk beats, giving the song some versatility. The drums are a power house, keeping the tempo, as well as giving the song a bit of a punk kick. All and all, one of the top three tracks on this CD. Reel Big Fish's swing/ska/pop fusion blended with their amazing humor almost makes this CD worth it itself. Starting off with an explanation of the song, they dive right into the humor from start to finish. The horns are sharp and clever, blending perfectly into the ska mix, and then jumping into some soothing swing arrangements, they can tackle any challenge. The vocals are the main focus of the music, no matter what style they're playing. Filled with humor, they seem to take the song as a joke at first, but upon a deeper listen you can tell they're just having a reel good time. Bjorn Again's "Girls on Film" seems mighty out of place on this compilation with their dance/techno style, but then again if you listen to it more closely, it fits right in with where Duran Duran was coming from in the first place. The Wesley Willis Fiasco's "Girls on Film" isn't nearly as good as Bjorn Again's version. Although the style was more fitting for this compilation, Wesley Willis' shout/talk style for the lyrics just doesn't go over well.

For a tribute album, this CD is pretty good. The various bands' styles jump from genre to genre, but still keep the common thread present. I'll give this CD a B-. I was never big on Duran Duran myself, but from hearing all these bands covering a band they loved, you can tell their influence was well spread out.

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