He’s moody and grey

Of all the people responsible for Duran Duran’s more moodier music, John Taylor seemed like the most unlikely candidate.

The founding member who listed Chic as an influence and who participated in the more rockier Duran Duran side group, the Power Station, Taylor seemed more like the guy who gave the band its slick, dance floor-friendly groove than informing its more Cure-like moments.

Oddly enough, Duran Duran lost a bit of its moodiness when Taylor left the group in 1997, and even more so, that dark quality showed up on the bass guitarist’s solo works.

Techno For Two picks up where his self-titled debut album for Japan’s Avex Trax left off, improving the hooks and cleaning up Taylor’s deadpan vocal.

Tracks such as “6,000 Miles”, “Immortal” and “Mister J” leave lasting impressions with their memorable chorus and by-the-numbers guitar-keys-drum machine arrangements.

Other tracks, such as “Tight”, “The Other Side of the Sun” and “Out of the Blues” revel in atmospheric effects and driving beats but not without hammering in a some buzzing guitar riffs here and there.

After indulging a jones for punk music in the mid-1990s, Taylor has boomeranged back to the electro-rock mix on which his original group built an entire 20-year career. Remarkably, he sounds nothing like Duran Duran.

If anything, Taylor has struck the same kind of balance between rock and electronica that would-be labelmates Supercar, Dr.StrangeLove and Quruli have achieved.

Taylor would probably make some really good music if he teamed up with Takamune Negishi from Dr.StrangeLove. He still has a hard time carrying a tune, but this time around, it doesn’t interfere with the songwriting.

On the surface, Techno for Two sounds like a synthesizer-driven album, but at its core, it’s a rock album.