Random Access Memories – album review

By Kris Amin

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo touchdown to abduct you and travel back with them on a pilgrimage to the origins of electronic dance.  Random Access Memories yearns for a time now lost, bringing soul back to electronic dance music.

In recent memory, no build-up to an album release has received as much hype and expectation as the fourth release from the French duo. Eight years have crawled by since the release of their last album, Human After All, but the enduring popularity of the ‘best thing to come out of France’ has not waned. The marathon hype -campaign preceding the release of Random Access Memories on social networks, including interviews with collaborators and snippets of the album, has only served to fuel the expectation and mystery of the French House gods.

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Thomas Bangalter

And they do not disappoint. Random Access Memories is an education in electronic dance. An eclectic mix of disco beats, indie-dance crossovers and a West End spectacle. It rockets back to its origins, with the homage to its creator, Giorgio Moroder, and his revolutionary ‘click’ sound.  It tributes disco in its heyday and the catchy hooks of Nile Rodgers, where Lose Yourself to Dance has you stripping off from the humid sound, before Get Lucky grabs you by the hips and thrashes you around.

They lament today’s soulless dance producers in Within and Touch, which break up the love-in between the Gallic robots and their inspirations. They provide pauses for reflection and emotion with lyrics like “I am lost; I can’t even remember my name. Please tell me who I am?” and “Tell me what you see? I need something more,” recognising the lack of originality in dance music today. The originality, which has seen them continually innovate throughout their 20-year partnership.

The future of the genre is positive though, with Doin’ It Right optimistically reassuring us that “everybody will be dancing and be doing it right,” before the robots depart with Control, which builds to a head banging crescendo as the spaceship that brought them to Earth roars into the distance. Perhaps to return again in another eight years.

RAM is Daft Punk’s gift to Give Life Back to Music as the opening track suggests and they seem pretty proud with their work and philosophy as they defiantly state: “We’ve come so far, to give up who we are.”