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Daft Punk: Random Access Memories (Columbia)



It's been seven years since Daft Punk has released an album. There's been a lot of drastic change in the world of dance music since the French duo released the phenomenal Human After All in 2005.

That dreaded term "EDM" is all the rage at the moment; guys behind racks of gear are more commonplace than live bands, it seems. If Human After All was the fuse that lit the dynamite, then Random Access Memories feels like the after-hours comedown. This isn't fist-pumping rip fuel, this is the equivalent of a joint and a mimosa at sun-up.

The album kicks off at a jaunty pace with "Give Life Back to Music." Daft Punk is already taking a stand here; this record marks the first time the boys have assembled live musicians rather than rely on savvy crate-digging for obscure funk and disco riffs. It comes off as a Chic B-side, and it should: That band's Nile Rodgers is on guitar for this and several other tracks. "The Game of Love" could have been an Eagles jam had the California cowboys stumbled on P-Funk's gear in the studio. It's a silky smooth jam ripe for ponderous night drives.

Legendary Italian disco producer/film composer Giorgio Moroder stops by to talk about his life on the epic "Giorgio by Moroder." It's a cocktail party vibe at first, but it soon slips into a swirling synth-drenched dance floor pleaser that's reminiscent of the maestro's work on the Midnight Express and Scarface soundtracks.

These first three tracks set the blueprint for the rest of the album. Random Access Memories is the calm after the storm; don't look for any robot rock here.

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