Eight years after Duran Duran's reunion (and consequential big, fat '80s-sized comeback tour in 2004), the group has hit the studio again. The "Fab Five" announced plans for an upcoming album in collaboration with producer Mark Ronson, whose magic touch has graced the albums of Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Adele, the Kaiser Chiefs and Outkast.
After several years of a fluctuating line-up, numerous side projects, and a good old-fashioned experimental identity crisis or two, the original members of Duran Duran reunited in 2001 and have since released two studio albums on Epic.
"We have about 20 ideas for songs," said drummer Roger Taylor on the band's blog. "I feel as though it's going to be a great album since we're very free now." The band was disrupted in 2007 by the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor in the midst of recording Red Carpet Massacre, which was produced by Timbaland. "There was quite a lot of pressure around those sessions, but at the moment it feels like the pressure is off," says Taylor.
This isn't the first time the group has collaborated with Ronson. Duran Duran first worked with the producer du jour in 2008 for the Smirnoff Experience in Paris, where they unveiled Ronson's live reworkings of classics like "Girls on Film" and "A View to a Kill."
"I have no idea what it's going to be like [working with Ronson]," Taylor says. "The Smirnoff event was a different thing, it was a live performance ... and this is going to be about creating new music. We have no idea whether he comes in with a programmer, whether he comes in with a guitar and a drum machine ... no clue but we're excited to see it unfold."
Duran Duran has worked with a handful of notable producers for recent albums: 2004's Astronaut was overseen by Atlanta's Dallas Austin, and mega-producer Timbaland joined forces with the band for 2007's Red Carpet Massacre.
"For over two decades, Duran Duran have given listeners a catalogue of new music that is both innovative and influential," says the band web site. "Working with Ronson is a natural next step for the band, who continue to challenge themselves with each new phase of their career." There's no word yet on the album's release date, but if you simply can't wait to relive your adolescence with some mighty Duran Duran dance tracks, head to London this June for the Lovebox Weekender, where they're booked as the festival's headliner.
For a taste of the Duran Duran/Ronson dynamic, check out this video from their 2008 collaboration: