Agree with you wholeheartedly.
I am a huge DD fan. Have been for ....well....decades.
Had an unusual and eye-opening revelation a while back...
If you haven't already, check out Japan...especially "Gentlemen Take Polaroids".
It explains a LOT about the Duran sound, look, atmosphere of the time. Especially since it came out a few years BEFORE Duran hit it big....AND...believe it or not they knew each other.
Heck...Nick Rhodes in the "Notorious" era looks like David Sylvian's lost twin.
But these digressions aside...I always loved the early Duran. I keep hoping for the rebirth (I think everyone does)...but I really haven't been keen on anything much since the Wedding Album. I am NOT a fan of the Timbaland collab.
I think if they went back to the original formula: "Chic meets Roxy Music" they would find the path to redemption...
IMO Girl Panic came close...I guess as close as they could while still shooting for the obligatory 'hit'...but it missed the mystery and elusive aura of the early releases.
Side note: I actually met John Taylor on the streets of Paris in 198x ....I think they were there filming the "View to a Kill" video. I also think he was high as a freakin kite and no WAY would he ever remember me... when I stopped him I called him "Mr. Taylor"...how absurd...but I didn't care...it was awesome and later... I actually got some dates BECAUSE I HAD MET HIM.