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Daft Punk - Human After All


Review: Jack Foley

PIONEERING French dance duo, Daft Punk, take their time inbetween records but the wait is almost always worth it.

Debut album, Homework, for instance, brought Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem Christo worldwide acclaim when it first surfaced in 1997 for taking dance music in a new direction, but it took four years until Discovery, the follow-up, which similarly blew people away.

Another four years on and the duo finally release Human After All, which was recorded in just six weeks between September and November 2004, and which looks certain to continue the Daft Punk success story.

It's a grittier, darker album than Discovery, pumped full of the Daft Punk trademarks - analogue synths, obscure guitar riffs, robot voices and sassy beats - yet it's equally as accessible.

The angrier tone is evident throughout the pulsating guitar riffs of lead single, Robot Wars, which finds the album at its rockiest.

While The Brainwasher simply reverberates with hardcore beats and samples, which pound away at an unrelenting pace.

Had the album continued in such fashion, it might have become something of an arduous journey.

Yet Thomas and Guy sensibly opt to slow things down on two occasions, thereby providing listeners with two of the album's highlights - Make Love and Emotion.

Make Love, in particular, is a blissfully chilled out, piano-led anthem, that arrives like a breath of fresh air midway through the record. It could well become one of the signature tunes of the year.

While Emotion, which brings the album to a richly satisfying close, is another shimmering delight that probably showcases the Daft Punk sound at its finest.

Elsewhere, opening track, Human After All, provides a suitably upbeat introduction to the album, mixing the usual guitars and machines with a funky beat.

While Television Rules the Nation is a real throwback to the duo's early years.

Some have accused Human After All of not being forward-looking enough and overly familiar, but given the wretched state of contemporary dance music anyway, it's refreshing to find that Daft Punk still possess what it takes to cut a viable alternative to the masses.

So while it may not be a stretch for the duo, it's still an incredibly stylish entry into the Daft Punk back catalogue that should confirm their position as the French dance kings of cool.

Track listing:
1. Human After All
2. The Prime Time of Your Life
3. Robot Rock
4. Steam Machine
5. Make Love
6. The Brainwasher
7. On/Off
8. Television Rules The Nation
9. Technologic
10. Emotion

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