On LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge," James Murphy shouts out the band that traded its computer for an arpeggiator "because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record." The new robots make the old robots quaint, as the old robots in Daft Punk well know. It's been seven years since the French duo's last studio album, unless you count the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, and they have gone from obscure to early influence with terrifying speed. So they made a Yaz record.
The warm, clean presence of Random Access Memories is all the more impressive for its conspicuously analog sound. The execution is also very self-conscious. The album opens with a muddy fanfare that snaps into disco rigor on a track called "Give Life Back to Music." Another song is a lengthy interview with producer Georgio Moroder talking about German discotheques and the importance of the click track. At nearly every turn, Random Access Memories is a musical statement about music.
It's an ambitious project, and Daft Punk manages it nicely. Still, the significance of the affair too often becomes solemnity. Random is a tight and satisfying defense of disco and four-on-the-floor electronica, but it feels more like an argument than a party. Dance music helps you forget yourself, and it's hard to forget when the music keeps reminding you it's there. I'm glad Daft Punk is still around. I only wish they would fade into the background of their comeback album.