So Red the Rose by Arcadia

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So Red the Rose by Arcadia
So Red the Rose by Arcadia

Album Released: 1985

So Red the Rose ::: Artwork

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1.Election Day5:26
2.Keep Me in the Dark4:28
3.Goodbye Is Forever3:46
4.The Flame4:22
6.Rose Arcana0:51
7.The Promise7:28
8.El Diablo6:03
9.Lady Ice7:32


With Duran Duran taking a pause (which can now really be seen as the 'classic' band having finished), the five members went off to do side projects.

John and Andy Taylor joined Robert Palmer to get it on with The Power Station, while Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, and Roger Taylor formed Arcadia, an act that has such a strong Duran flavour, this album could be seen as an unofficial Duran Duran release, and So Red the Rose the truly last grasp at their traditional sound.

That's not to say it's exactly like what they'd done in the past, since there's nothing that's quite along the lines of "New Moon On Monday", with the material having a slightly more funk-orientated feel at times. Rhodes' keyboards dominate, creating a haunting atmosphere throughout, while Le Bon's vocals, although still whiny, manage to soar, and their harmonic over-dubbing is one of the record's strengths.

It also helps of course that most of the songs are good. "Election Day", "Keep Me in the Dark", "Goodbye Is Forever", and "The Flame" are all decent slabs of synth/pop, with plenty of hooks, without being simplistic. The sleepy "Missing" might stall things a bit, but there remains something about that piece's dreamy soundscape.

The trio get more arty on the album's last three songs, particularly the final track "Lady Ice", which is the only one I find a bit hard to warm to (ha ha, warm... ice...). The highlight for me though has to be "The Promise", with its brooding melodic verses and flying chorus of heaven hide your eyes, heaven's eyes will never dry making it a true classic that matches anything Duran Duran had done. It belongs on any of that band's 'Best of' releases.

Generally, the lyrics are the familiar weird and odd stuff Le Bon so often favours, but it's the music that really takes hold. Overall, this album is not up there with Rio, (or come to that, the 1981 self-titled debut), but there's still much to like, and is certainly recommended to any Duran Duran fan.

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by Reviewer: The Doctor