For the better part of a decade (’97-’07), French duo Guy-Manual de Homen-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, more commonly known as the robot collective Daft Punk, had redefined and dominated the dance world. With the ultra-popular Discovery and Homework records and the megahits like Around The World, Da Funk, and Technologic the electronic world was in the palm of Daft Punks hands. Then after the very successful “Alive in 2007” world tour, the duo walked away from the game while clearly on its top. Vowing to be done for good, the band made a brief return to handle the score for Tron: Legacy and by all accounts were gone again as quickly as they came back. Now in 2013, these French robots are back with what is easily their most well-constructed and much different outing to date, and by a mile, in Random Access Memories.

While Daft Punk has always relied heavy on a disco and funk backbone, they're more known for a heavy house influence as well. The pounding bass, hooking syntho-pop melodies, and signature robot-like vocals caused them to become staples of pretty much every club DJ’s setlist. Unbeknownst to most, the duo was actually responsible for creating most of the sounds in the studio themselves and each played a series of instruments throughout the recording process. It wasn’t all just mixing and sampling.

Now with Random Access Memories, the groups much anticipated return, that organic composition that has always lied in the background appears to be the focus this time. Almost instantaneously as the opening of Give Life Back To Music, which I feel was very appropriately titled, you can tell that the electro element has been moved to the background and traditional instruments will make up the core sound. For the majority of the record the Frenchies put their disco and funk influences at the forefront and the album smoothly coasts through pulling ideas from other non-daft traditional styles such as blues, soul, and R&B. Only occasionally, like during the midway point of track 3’s Giorgio By Moroder, does something in vain of the Punk we’re used to show up and even then it’s brief.

Another interesting dynamic on the overall sound of this record is the amount of collaborations and who the collaborators are. Collaborating with other artists isn’t a new concept for Daft Punk but never on this scale. The duo has collaborated DJ Sneak, Romanthony, and Todd Edwards on Discovery but that doesn’t come close to the scale as which the collaborations appear on this record. Daft Punk brought out the big guns time around and over the course of the albums 13 tracks appearances by Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams (twice), Giorgio, Paul Williams, Todd Edwards, and Panda Bear occur on separate tracks. It’s clear on each track that the guest artist brought some of their own ideas and influences to the table and that brought a whole new dynamic to the overall sound.

Throughout my initial run through of the record I did find myself waiting for the Daft Punk I’m accustom to come out and it never really happened. Once I accepted that defeat, I was able to really sit back and enjoy this record. The album progresses beautifully and is diverse enough through each track, while maintaining a singular idea that my attention never waned. The organic soulful atmosphere created is impeccable and a much appreciated surprise to what I was expecting.

While this album is a front runner for my favorite record of the year, I would say to those that are not that familiar with Daft Punk and want to dive into their catalog, this is not the one to start with. This is a much, much different record that what Daft Punk is known for. However, this is also something that I feel that a different audience can appreciate because of its very light-electro vibe that it presents. This is lovely chill record that you can just put on and kick back to from start to finish. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more impressed with Daft Punk, they have shown why they are the kings at what they do and have completely reinvented themselves.