Album review: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

By Scott Kara


There is nothing here in the catchy vein of Daft Punk's mega hits One More Time and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, because this is an album that is best listened to in its entirety. That's if you have a spare 74 minutes or so. Because it is a vast and intriguing beast and, indeed, as the title suggests, there are many random moments where you think to yourself, 'what the heck is this?' Like opener Give Life Back To Music, with its epic opening, so unfashionable-sounding it makes you feel kind of weird that you like it, and on Fragments Of Time, where they well and truly get their Hall & Oates groove on.

Yes, there are pure pop moments, such as Get Lucky with Pharrell Williams - which is one of the biggest singles of the year so far (along with Williams' other collaboration on Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines) - but it's one of the weakest tracks here. It's catchy, but in that wash-over-you-easily kind of way.

And besides, on Random Access Memories the French duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have come up with an album that's not about the hits.

It's about songs like Giorgio By Moroder, a nine-minute homage to Italian synthesiser great Giorgio Moroder with the great man himself talking about his influential life over the top of some soothing, saucy, stylish electro disco. Then there's Lose Yourself To Dance (also with Williams), an immediate moochy head nodder, with funky Prince-style guitar jams and handclaps done to a P-funk tempo, and Touch takes off into a zany, almost flapper-meets-jazz piano and clarinet jam, before galactic synth beams and calmer piano chords mellow the song out. If anything, it gets a little whimsical and waffly on tracks like Beyond, because there is only so much pensive toe-tapping and hip-swaying one can do during a song.

But it doesn't peter out towards the end, and the spectral ambient electronica of Motherboard, and maddening last track, Contact, will do your head in - but in a good way.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Weird and wonderful

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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