Justice – Audio, Video, Disco (Because Music)
November 28, 2011 by Daniel Gill
Whenever I think of Justice, I think of being in a club, looking at strangers singing “We are your friends, you’ll never be alone again” very loudly with my finger pointing a little off from the person I’m supposed to be pointing at. Either that or trying to keep up with the lyrics from ‘D.A.N.C.E’. They were brilliant at making none offensive electro pop… dance floor fillers that put a smile on your face. However, it seems the French duo weren’t happy with just doing that; the new release ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ channels their inner 70/80′s rock monster. Expect Iron Maiden-esque synth solos… A lot of them.
‘Horsepower’ kicks off the album like a double ended guitar being thrown up in the air and landing on your head. Their trademark beastly distortion still hums through the track but now it’s on top of hair metal chords which turn the velocity up to full power, a style which works well and easily continues into the next track ‘Civilisation’. This has a similar start to the album opener, but then delves back into electro-pop for a great chorus (you can easily tell why this was chosen to be the lead single).
After the dreamy road trip (‘Ohio’) and the stylish Daft Punk banger (‘Canon’), the album drifts off into the territory of “we are trying our hardest to make you forget what we use to sound like”. ‘On’n'On’ does just this, as it feels like the duo are trying too hard to get away from the signature style that made Justice what they are. As for ‘Parade’, for a minute, when the drums came in, I thought it was going to break out into ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen. This new found love for classic rock is fine, but dousing it all over every track just to make a statement doesn’t really work.
Thankfully ‘Helix’ and ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ end the album on a high. ‘Helix’ is a simple up beat dance track with chopped up vocal samples, making it a likeable head-nodder. ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ is similar to the early tracks on the album in the sense it has the right amount of electro-pop mixed with this new found heavy rock edge. On the occasion when Justice gets the recipe right, they have extremely good results.
Change is a good thing for artists, but forgetting who you are to begin with can cause messy results musically. Justice seem to have just got away with it in this release; the ambition is pleasing, and this may be the right change in direction come the next album, if they can find a good balance. It certainly looks like they will continue with these genre mashing experiments, so I guess I’m going to have trade in my finger pointing for air guitar.