Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

Digital lovers return with collabs-heavy mish-mash

Random Access Memories

Daft Punk have been
a Jekyll-and-Hyde proposition
throughout a career of flitting
between electro house and
rough-round-the-edges
synth-rock. For every Da
Funk to soundtrack your
swagger, there’s an Around
The World to numb you with
repetitive banality.

They may have inspired
a legion of bedroom producers
but, on Random Access
Memories, the French duo’s
focus is on performers. Apart
from Contact, which borrows
from an Apollo 17 broadcast,
samples are kept to
a minimum, and free space
filled by funk-drenched songs
and guest appearances;
a crooning Pharrell Williams
pitches up on Get Lucky, to
which disco-funk guitar licks
are supplied by Nile Rogers.

The star turns don’t stop
there. Julian Casablancas
adds trademark treated vocals
to the forlorn Instant Crush,
and Hansjörg ‘Giorgio’
Moroder is roped in to add
a monologue – though not
much dancefloor appeal – to
the kooky synths of Giorgio Of
Moroder. Elsewhere, the Delia
Derbyshire-worthy space-electro
of Motherboard
outshines the unfortunate
Touch, which sounds like a
refugee from an Andrew Lloyd
Webber musical.

Ultimately, you don’t
quite get the sky-scraping,
genre-blending bangers
mustered in the past, nor
the negative synergy and
diminishing returns of many
collaboration-heavy, late-career
albums. Call it
a mixed bag – or business
as usual.  

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Columbia | tbc (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Ash O’Keeffe
<< Back to Issue 415

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