Since its debut Cross hit clubs and mixes across the planet in 2007, Justice has slowly been losing its previously constant place on college party playlists. The French electro duo’s infectious single “D.A.N.C.E.” had listeners humming for days after its first release. But will its second LP, Audio, Video, Disco, garner the same universal appeal that earned the duo a Grammy nomination four years ago?
Audio, Video, Disco hits the ear hard from the start with intense but playful melodies. “Civilization,” the first single off “Disco,” offers a simple rhythm and a sparse three stanza of vocals for the nearly four minute-long song. With these elements, Justice crafts epic songs that could be played at a club or the climax of a James Cameron film. Despite forays into pop vocal territory, Justice stays true to the sound that can shake arenas full of people.
The album is not all pomp. Some tracks stretch into sentimental territory with soft harmonies and lighter basslines. “Ohio” offers sweet vocals that sound pop enough to capture the same mainstream attention “D.A.N.C.E.” received. While the song’s lyrics are as insightful as one might expect (“Ohio / Tennessee / California / Endlessly / Right on” [repeat]), the track is nonetheless infectious and musically complex.
Unlike much of its previous record, Justice gives listeners an album that never gets monotonous. Even with its command of English that scarcely matches a second grade reading level, Disco provides jams in spades that all warrant repeat listens.
The French electronic kings have stated they aimed for a lighter sound with their second record. If Cross is night music, Audio, Video, Disco is for the day. In this vein, Disco provides plenty of catchy vocals in songs like “On’n’On” that provides, perfect back tracks to lip-synching on a groggy Monday morning.
Other tracks on the album seem like they were created for the sole purpose of being sampled and remixed. Deep cuts like “Helix” refrain from aggressively pulling people to the dance floor with quiet melodies and long instrumental segments.
Justice shows its love for heavy metal in many of the songs. Going from fuzzed out Daft Punk riffs to over-the-top shredding that sounds like AC/DC samples, there’s no shortage of rock sounds on Disco.
Many electronic artists who began making music before dubstep was trendy have begun to draw influences from the fadtastic genre. Rather than implanting overblown drum breaks and cheesy bass wobbles, Justice draws its sonic influences from the classic rock and electronic artists who paved the way for it to make music today. Without falling into generic rip-offs of previously good music, Justice manages to craft a record that is timeless, yet would have been impossible to make at any other time.
Cross got Justice a nomination for best album; Audio, Video, Disco could very well get the win. Those who like electronic music will fall in love with the new album, and those who do not will be hearing a lot of Justice after the album’s release today; Disco is awesome and will be played constantly and deafeningly.
4.5 stars out of 5