Review Summary: A high-speed drive through the future that starts at night and ends at day.
Ignoring the fact that it was Daft Punk returning to make music for the first time after a 5 year silence, there was something exciting about the mysterious robots scoring the soundtrack for Tron: Legacy
. The dark, neon-streaked visual aesthetic and fast-paced action sequences felt like the perfect material for Daft Punk to accompany with their futuristic style. Realistically, the soundtrack fulfills its purpose in exactly the way that should have been expected. It retains the futuristic soundscape that parts of Discovery
captured so well, and at times it also captures the energy that has allowed hits like “One More Time” to fill dance floors since 2001. But there was no getting around the fact that what many were expecting to be a genuine album had to fulfill its function as a soundtrack before anything else. It's where the album failed, and it's also exactly where Spiral Power
is able to succeed.
is the soundtrack to your favorite sci-fi epic fully realized. If listening to the soundtrack to movies like Tron
and Blade Runner
evokes memories of the visuals and atmosphere contained within, Spiral Power
captures and delivers them entirely on its own because it isn't held back by a need to function as something other than itself. There's certainly no lack of subtlety on the album, but the tracks are largely driven by pulsing beats beneath captivating melodies, and it's bansheebeat's wonderful ear for melody that really powers the album. Whether it's in the cascading synth-lines that accompany a groovy bassline in running over the Tron
-like chord progressions found on “Ninetails” or the playfulness of the perfectly restrained melody that takes the forefront of the melancholy backdrop on “Nightosphere”, every track that's present here is bursting at the seams with style and atmosphere.
If it hasn't been made obvious already, much of the album is reminiscent of the cold futurism that contextualizes sci-fi soundtracks. Spiral Power
captures that sound undeniably well, but its brilliance lies in its difference from the dark homogeny found in that style. There's an undeniable uplifting warmth to tracks like “Sunchamber” and “Tepplin”, the latter of which contains some of the album's most energetic force in its blistering synth work. That same energy fuels the majority of the work here in a more subdued manner. There's an ever-present, pulsating undercurrent found throughout that keeps the album well-paced and focused, and is only truly let out at well-timed opportunistic moments – like the screaming end of “Empress” where every aspect of the music finally breaks free from their calculated restraints to create a chaotic, overdriven climax that capitalizes on every shining aspect of Spiral Power
In the end, it's bansheebeat's cinematic style that carries Spiral Power
as a whole. He has such a strong ability to balance and juxtapose cold and warm, dark and light, quiet and loud; and with that he finds the perfect blend that's just subtle enough to truly get lost in, and just energetic enough to dance to. It's the sound that the best of electronic music strives to capture – an album that takes multiple listens to fully explore and delve into, and an album that leaves its mark on the listener as well. Spiral Power
takes you places; it's both the movie and the soundtrack. You'll wish it was the soundtrack to your life, and for just under an hour you can pretend that it is.