Opener Invisible starts with a robotic, unsettling rhythm track that becomes catchier as the song ‑ about a smothered partner in a one-sided relationship ‑ grows and the melodies build. Sharp guitar from Blur’s Graham Coxon fits perfectly, and the Erol Alkan/Duran Duran production is faultless.
For a band who took their name from cult 60s sci-fi film Barbarella, it seems apt that the video for this song was created by Huxley, an artificial intelligence that moulds “dreamscapes” from lyrics and musical tones.
Anniversary is another gem. Written to celebrate the band’s 40 years together, it opens with Nick Rhodes’ synths and John Taylor’s bass before Roger Taylor’s drums kick in and Simon Le Bon sings, “Come celebrate this union/come holy and unchained”.
Echoes of previous hits are planted like sonic Easter eggs in this insidiously catchy dance number as the Brum boys reflect on their musical legacy.
There are intriguing collaborations throughout. Falling features Bowie’s pianist Mike Garson, and Giorgio Moroder lends his unmistakable production to dancefloor filler Tonight, United.
More Joy! gives us a feast of bouncy electronica, with sparkling vocals from the postmodern, all-girl, Japanese punks Chai who infuse the song with what Le Bon calls “pink neon magic spiky dust”.
Swedish singer Tove Lo joins them for Give It All Up, a dreamy dance number with swelling synths, Mark Ronson co-wrote and produced ballad Wing, and German-born rapper Ivorian Doll adds her distinctive style to Hammerhead.
This is modern pop with its deck-shoed feet in the past and its eyes on tomorrow.