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By A Customer
This review is from: Discovery (Audio CD)
So Daft Punk return with the second instalment of their unique vision having defined the sound of late 90s house, opened the floodgates for countless French musical visionaries and been expensively imitated by the pop elite. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have even gone so as to reconstruct themselves as bionic funkateers to complete the picture, so you know they mean business. And this gleaming, diamond hard album of mechanical disco pop, four years in the making, contains all the "magic, surprise, entertainment and art" they claim as their manifesto.
The first thing that hits you is the sheer sonic assault of these offerings: a combination of bizarre, faux naïve ideas with slabs of noise so monolithically huge that you don't know what's hit you until it's too late. Take the widdly Van Halen solo and heavy disco loops which make up "Aerodynamic", or the panel beating techno mixed with an imaginary soundtrack to a "Transformers" cartoon in "Superheroes". "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Crescendolls" are the real enfant terribles here, brutal and hilarious bionic stomps full of gibbering, steroidal gym instruction and funfair whoops- truly daft punk music. We may never know what the fractitious dance fraternity make of this because we won't be able to hear their mumbling over the enormous din.
Not that "Discovery" sees Daft Punk ditching their house roots. Romanthony tops and tails proceedings with the disco smash "One More Time" (which you know and hate to love) and the old school house of "Too Long" (which actually isn't), and the filtered Disco of "High Life" wouldn't sound out of place on "Homework".
But this album's real strength is in marrying innovative digital productions with pop suss, creating a European counterpart to Missy and Timbaland's US Hip Pop. Maybe it's geography- this unity could only come from a younger, smaller scene more open to ideas and less dispersed into sub genres than the UK's. Or maybe it's a demonstration of those characteristics begrudgingly attributed to The French by the Brits- style, taste & intelligence- overcoming the tardy imaginations of more established pop scenes. Rescuing the be-mulleted mid-80s pop of Jean Michel Jarre and Toto is a trick only the Punk could pull off with such panache: memories of the early MTV years are plundered without irony, adding an unexpected poignancy to Daft Punk's ultra modern oeuvre. Take "Something About Us", a majestic lovesexy Prince number with Air ambience and breathy, soft rock vocals which make for an affecting love song, or the highlight of the album, "Digital Love", a sun drenched pop giant which sounds like Buggles singing over banging millennial French Disko. "Discovery"'s victory is to prove that there are an infinite number of past pop moments and impressions waiting to be translated into a new context, that the self-regenerative power of pop itself will never cease. Madonna will have to spend millons reviving herself in a couple of years' time to keep up with the game.
The result is a fantastic Pop artefact for the kids and anyone who remembers what it felt like to be a kid. "Discovery" is provocative, overwhelming, irrestistable and hilarious. And, as you might expect from two over educated Gallic aristos prepared to spend £150,000 on dressing up as robots, as much fun as can be had.