Daft Punk has always been one of dance music's most flexible -- and accessible -- acts, spanning the relentless pulse of Homework and the lush, sprawling Discovery with a distinctive wit and playfulness that made fans of electronic music diehards and indie rockers alike. Though the long-awaited Human After All retains that playfulness, it's the duo's simplest album, which oddly enough, makes it their most difficult to embrace at first. Human After All was made in six weeks, and sounds like it -- and not always in a good way: the quick-and-dirty recording process and limited palette of grainy synths, vocoders, and guitars do lend a stripped-down, spontaneous feel, but just as often, this minimal approach feels like it's supporting minimal ideas.
LCD Soundsystem's recent single Daft Punk Is Playing at My House was witty confirmation of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo's unique hipster cachet. But LCD Soundsystem may wish they'd chosen another talisman of cool once they hear Human After All. Apparently knocked off in just six weeks, Daft Punk's third album sounds like it took six days.