Human After All - Daft Punk

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Human After All - Daft Punk

1 CD(s) - Trip Hop / Big Beat - Label: Virgin - Distributor: Universal Music, EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 14/03/2005 - 724356356221

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Review of "Human After All - Daft Punk"

published 08/05/2005 | x_helix_x
Member since : 29/10/2004
Reviews : 49
Members who trust : 26
About me :
Excellent
Pro Daft Punk going back to their roots
Cons A lot different from Discovery album; some may not like that
very helpful
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"Let's Rock...Robot Rock"

Cover of the album

Cover of the album

Welcome back Daft Punk is what I have to say! Daft Punk in my mind are legends of the dance music scene, all shall be explained. But 2005 has seen the release of their much anticipated third album: "Human After All". And the album has been met with mixed responses, the majority of dance music fans have given the thumbs up.

Well just who are Daft Punk? That's a question a lot of people have been asking for many years. Daft Punk are Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homen Christo. The pair met at high school in Paris in 1987; both shared a love of music and movies from the 60s and 70s. Thomas and Guy-Man formed an instrumental indie covers band called "Darlin". So how did they get the name Daft Punk. Well "Darlin" featured on a compilation tape with a cover of an old Beach Boys song, the magazine Melody Maker reviewed it and described their song as a "bunch of daft punk" and the rest they say is history. Well not quite, Guy-Man and Thomas made the transition from indie to house by going to raves and clubs in the early 90s. At one rave they were lucky enough to get their big break. Stuart McMillian of dance legends Slam was there and they chanced their arm by handing him a demo. He loved it and quickly snapped them up and signed them to Soma Records (Slam's record label).

Daft Punk's very first single was "The New Wave/Alive" released in 1993. But it wasn't until their next release in 1995 that they became recognised for their talent. "Da Funk" became an absolute club classic and their fantastic video of the dog with crutches in New York further cemmented this. In 1996 they signed to Virgin records in a bizarre deal where they don't have to show their faces and in 1997 they released the now classic album "Homework". Even though they were signed to Virgin it was still recorded in Thomas' bedroom. In 1998 Thomas Bangalter released the classic "Music Sounds Better With You" under the name Stardust and in 2002 he had another huge hit with DJ Falcon on "So Much Love To Give". So Daft Punk went on to release the synth-pop album "Discovery" in 2001 which became a sure fire success with hits such as the magnificent "Digital Love" and the party anthem "One More Time". The videos for all the singles from Discovery are Manga inspired and they all linked to tell a story. In 2004 the cartoons were released as a feature length film "Interstella 5555". Finally in 2004 they recorded this album "Human After All".

Daft Punk are notoriously hard to pin down. They rarely give interviews and nobody really knows what they look like. When they get press photos they dress up in dog, frog, pig masks and more recently they have sported a very futuristic robot helmet look. Tres chic. Their cautious approach to the media was side-lined for the Discovery album as they gave over 200 interviews. Thomas Bangalter even started a media backlash against dance music by saying it was "over". However that has proved to be a good thing, as dance music just went underground again and got that raw energy back that originally attracted Daft Punk. And in this album there is a move away from the commercial friendly "Discovery" refusing to do any interviews and back to their roots....

This first song that gets the proceedings off to a start is "Human After All". The beat stands out as being fresh, clear with acid and electro sound effects over the top. The synth joins in a little after the start and fits in perfectly. On this track they have used their own voices. "We are human after all" is what they declare but Daft Punk don't just record their voices straight, no they distort it and change it making themselves sound like robots. "The Prime Time Of Your Life" seems more of a return to their cut and paste past. It's a kind of mix of all different sounds, with a heavy filtered bass and beats layered over flashes of a synth. They use bits of vocals which has all been mashed up using a vocoder adding to the electronic feel. But what does it for me in this tune is when suddenly in the middle of it all, the beat becomes more clear, a bit more pounding and machine like with a fantastically gritty acid effect over the top. And by the end we are left with this franctic chaotic noise.

Now for the first single off the album and one of my personal favourites "Robot Rock". I just can't describe how much I love this song. "Robot Rock" is exactly what it says, pure rock elements mashed up with electronic daft punk edge. It is the kind of tune that makes you want to do some body popping! The funky lead from the guitars and synths gives it a really catchy melody and the guitar chords just stab away. This really is a slice of perfection. "Robot Rock" has the perfect extremely distorted vocals that have been paired cleverly with each stabbing guitar chord.

Next up is "Steam Machine". Anyone who knows Daft Punk solely from the work of Discovery will be surprised. This tune is very dark and rough and gritty. A slow but sure steady beat paces along nicely. What makes this so different is the gritty acidic effects, that are matched perfectly with beat. And you wonder why it's called "Steam Machine" well the vocals are distorted ever so slightly but they are more hissed out and this makes it all sound like a machine. For me it's a fabulous track but for others it might be a little too dark and sinister to what they are used to. "Make Love" is a massive contrast to the previous offerings. This track is laid back. Classy, cool and sophisticated, the looped melody is really relaxing. It's is almost like a love-song in dance if that is possible. The beat is just a simple drum beat, nothing heavy or bassy. A simple guitar and piano melody just flow along together really nicely.

"The Brainwasher" immediately stamps it's authority not letting us relax too much after "Make Love". Brainwasher has a heavy, pounding, thudding 4x4 beat. There are effects used all over the place, acidic noises, distorted voices, twisted loops and a dirty bass. This tune is tough, nasty, harsh and agressive; with an almost hardcore/old techno feel to it. It's a real banger and for four minutes you daren't pause for a breath. "On/Off" is the only little interlude in the album and it's basically the noise of someone flicking through the tv channels before getting fed up and just switching it off. It's very apt for the next song...

"Television Rules The Nation" has a normal 4x4 drumbeat with a chunky bassline but Daft Punk use their trademark vocoder to stamp themselves all over this track. The synths are out in force again for this track but with a slightly slower feel to them, however there still remains that bit of an agressive, raw feel to it all. This again contrasts hugely with infectious "Technologic" another of my favourites on the album. A high pitched vocal gets the track underway at the beginning acapella but then being joined by a funky melody similar to that of "Human After All" with it's little acidic sound effects. On this track it's the vocals that steal the show, they are constant, unrelenting and pretty funky in a weird way. "Buy it, use it, break it, fix it, trash it, change it, now upgrade it...". This tune is a must hear off this album; it will bring a smile to your face and make you want to dance as well.

And so to the last song "Emotion". An epic for some people's standards lasting nearly seven minutes. This track is chilled with it's soft synths and gentle vocals that melt into the music. The beat is quite clear, a bit heavy but slow enough not ruin the relaxed vibe of the whole track. It rolls along nicely and provides a great way to polish the album off.

This album has recieved an awful lot of criticism. I have to admit the first time I heard it, I thought isn't this just a lot of b-sides that never made it on to Discovery. But then I listened to it a lot more and thought no, it's not. People will and do hate this album because it isn't the commercial, easy synth pop of Discovery that they wanted to so much. You could almost say Discovery was well crafted but tame pop that just didn't cut it alongside the debut Homework. Daft Punk by making this album are just doing what they believe in: pushing the boudaries and continuing their evolution. I'm glad they have done so because I love it when people don't stick to one sound all their careers. "Human After All" is rough, nitty gritty dance music with a rock edge to it. That is especially evident in "Robot Rock". It's Daft Punk going back to their roots and producing another high quality album. Every song has been well produced but I just love the real raw edge to it.

The inlay and cover are simple, black backgrounds. The cover has the trademark Daft Punk lettering on a television screen and the inlay has some quite cool art photos of fuzzy television screens.

If you are a true Daft Punk fan and have been since Homework then you will love this album. But if you are someone who only got into liking them from "Discovery" then maybe this isn't for you because it's so different and quite tough in parts. It's a great album so go buy it and make your own mind up.

£9.99 @ www.hmv.co.uk

Daft Punk Albums
Homework - 1997
Discovery - 2001
Human After All - 2005

Useful Websites:
www.daftpunk.com (watch the fab video for robot rock)
www.virginrecords.com/daft_punk (homepage at virgin, badly in need of updating but good if you haven't any tracks from discovery)
www.daftpunknet.free.fr (good fan website)
www.the-raft.com/daftpunk (great website)

Thanks for reading.

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Comments on this review

  • blaupraust published 26/10/2005
    Great review, very detailed, I cant say I agree with the opinion though! , I found the album very lacking, but then again, I didn't rate Homework either!
  • TazGreen published 01/10/2005
    Very good review. Bought the album myself and wasn't overly impressed to be fair, nowhere near as good as Homework.
  • Ihatemusic published 27/09/2005
    I thought of buying this one, I absolutly loved the single.
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Product Information : Human After All - Daft Punk

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1 CD(s) - Trip Hop / Big Beat - Label: Virgin - Distributor: Universal Music, EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics - Released: 14/03/2005 - 724356356221

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EAN: 724356356221

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