Though Duran Duran are a band who have released albums with relatively regularity ever since 1981, their name is synonymous with 80s music. With a voice as evocative of that particular era as Simon Le Bon's, it's not a wonder that 'All You Need Is Now' sounds a touch dated. But the truth is, you wouldn't expect anything else from Duran Duran, and would likely be disappointed if they tried. Le Bon's vocal is every bit as smooth as it was 25 years ago, and effortlessly carries off this collection of mostly up-tempo synth-pop tracks that land agreeably on the ears even if they never fully excite.
A "super-producer" Mark Ronson may be, but his mark here is less than overt, though it is perceptible where he has writings credits, such as the title track with its peculiar synth sounds or on the funky disco number 'Safe', complete with guest vocals from Scissor Sister Ana Matronic. These are some of this album's strongest moments, mind, with hints of other genres adding some variety to proceedings.
The main drawback with 'All You Need Is Now' is its running time. Having already released a shortened, nine track edition of the album digitally back in December, Duran Duran might have been better served by keeping it that length. 14 tracks is just too many here, and interest starts to wane around the halfway mark. Slower tracks, in particular 'Mediterranea', can come across as cheesy, too, perhaps a little too nostalgic in its similarities to the band's 90s work. Yet any triteness is somehow counteracted by two short orchestral interludes ('A Diamond In The Mind' and 'Return To Now'), adding a hint of sophistication to an otherwise unselfconscious record.
'All You Need Is Now' may not be the best record Duran Duran have, or will, ever put out, but it's certainly a reminder as to why they are so often termed 'icons'.