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
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.