Midlands footprints of new wave mammoths exposed for all to marvel at and trace the globe-trotters’ success to their humble origins.
Today it can be difficult to imagine DURAN DURAN, this suave metropolitan ensemble, as a bunch of provincials with burning ambition, yet that’s what they were in the very beginning, when the quartet still resided in Birmingham and strived to commit their early songs to tape. The youngsters’ first visit to Bob Lamb’s studio in Moseley yielded four pieces, of which only “Girls On Film” made it to the band’s debut LP, and here are the results of their second session that produced “To The Shore” – another cut to land on the same album – and three more numbers, all voiced by Andy Wickett who fronted the group for about a year, after Stephen Duffy moved on and before Simon Le Bon entered the picture. With two Taylors, guitarist John and drummer Roger, and keyboard player Nick Rhodes already in place they would retain for decades, the “Dreaming Of Your Cars” EP is a fascinating insight into the pop giants’ genesis.
The aforementioned “To The Shore” might be the most immaculate of these four tracks, clearly indicating where the foursome were headed, even though the song’s final version won’t sound as forceful, but the record’s titular composition – penned by Wickett for his previous team, T.V.EYE – points in no less uncertain terms to their contemporary influence: THE POLICE. Its reggae-tinged groove and bulging bottom end, steady beat and plaintive vocals tap at the dancing heart of the Thatcher era’s onset, while glacial ivories and snippet of dub soothe the tense sonics, which relax in a sparser “Love Story” to add soft funk to the mix. This is whence “X Disco” sends effervescent rays towards mirror ball – and to the future, too, because the same vibe would drive DURAN DURAN’s ambition and ambience for a few more spins around the sun. Of course, the collective couldn’t get there if not for their home-turf demos – a priceless period document not only for aficionados because every lover of top-notch pop should find the EP raw and adorable in equal measure.