Random Access Memories has become something of a divisive thing on certain online communities. There are many long-time Daft Punk fans who were salivating over a return to their Discovery glory days, and were loudly annoyed when they discovered through their leaked pirate links that the French duo had traded in big house tracks for a smoother, more chilled-out disco sound. Others, naturally, were very much turned on by these sounds, and with good reason: the album is likely the best disco album in years. There’s more than a whiff of California highway, Steely Dan-level breeziness surrounding the more upbeat tracks, such as the singles “Get Lucky” and “Instant Crush”. This love letter to the glory of the pre-punk era is still filtered through some essential Daft Punk synth-work; “Contact”, the closer, features a signature arpeggio riff repeated into infinity, with squalling support work revving things up to a Formula One-style racing speed. The drums, however, are much more organic, and that’s the point to Random Access Memories – at long last, eight years later, Daft Punk are finally human after all.
This turn towards the organic comes at a price, and those are the slower tracks on the album. “The Game Of Love” is at least erotic, like a Seventies sex jam with a vocoder, but “Within” and “Touch” both strive for some sort of artistic statement and fail to rouse even an ounce of such energy. They succeed on that level with “Giorgio By Moroder”, a nine-minute ode to the European disco era that arouses nostalgia I didn’t even really know existed, through an odd, captivating spoken word segment. As a revivalist album, it succeeds on multiple levels; since the modern music scene is hungry for reinvention of their parent’s sounds, expect these tracks to gain some real traction on both internet and terrestrial radio. Whether this is a “Daft Punk” album is up to the individual, but regardless of who made it, or why, it succeeds on its own shuffling merits.
FINAL MARK: A