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Sound Check

CD Reviews

5/22/2013

CD Daft PunkDaft Punk

‘Random Access Memories’

Columbia

Daft Punk has officially put the ketamine-addled, second-rate purveyors of electronic dance music on notice: “We’re better than you.” Before EDM — as it has come to be defined — was a thing, Daft Punk was churning out some of the world’s most recognizable club music. And now, with “Random Access Memories,” the duo has elevated its game from just “really damn good” to something masterful and sublime. “Get Lucky” has already become the biggest selling single of the year in Europe, and it is not even the best track on the album. That distinction would go to the funky, Pharrell Williams-fronted “Lose Yourself to Dance.” While the French duo’s dime-store EDM imitators have contented themselves with endless sample loops and increasingly ridiculous bass drops, “R.A.M.” illustrates just how head-and-shoulders above everybody with a mixing table Daft Punk really is. CV

 

CD Darius RuckerDarius Rucker

‘True Believers’

Capitol Nashville

If you only know Darius Rucker as “Hootie,” boy do you have some learnin’ to do. Rucker transitioned to country music — his first love — back in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. Ditching the mumbling, bluesy drawl that marked the Hootie and the Blowfish days, Rucker’s voice on “True Believers” is heartfelt and clear. It is also a voice that’s practically custom-made for his brand of country music: Rucker brings a lot of his Blowfish sensibilities to the table, and “True Believers” is full of lush, full-sounding songs that beg to be sung along to. There are a couple of bumps in the road — “Radio” is kind of a yawner — but for the most part the album is loaded for bear. The titular track is an expansive, driving tune, and Rucker’s cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” might just be the most satisfying single I’ve heard all year. CV

Barmuda