Justice releases electrifying new album

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“Audio, Video, Disco”’s album artwork features a giant stone cross, which Justice often uses as their logo.

Jordan Kauffman

jmkauffman@radford.edu

In the ongoing argument of which Electronica godfathers are the best, Daft Punk has always been at the forefront. Everything the French duo does is documented and followed rabidly; people of the world just love Daft Punk. That is, until Justice came along. Justice, another French duo, rushed on to the scene in 2003 and started kicking tail and taking names.

Justice has now become a force to be reckoned with, rightly so. Regardless of your opinions, Justice and Daft Punk, however similar, are two completely different acts.  Daft Punk is the more pop-oriented of the two, being very catchy and upbeat.  Justice is oriented toward dirty, grimy beats, sometimes disco and a sick penchant for forcing you to bob your head to the music.

Justice makes a valiant return to the electronic scene after a four year absence.

They released the single “Civilization” in March 2011 and nothing has been heard from them since.  Audio, Video, Disco dropped this past Tuesday and has been reminding the world why we have missed them so. The album is assuredly flawless; it’s the band’s trademark sound, without being too boring or a regurgitation of their 2007 effort, Cross.

Justice makes a point right out of the gate with the first song, “Horsepower,” with its unrelenting bass beat and Justice’s signature filthy synthesized sound. People always wonder, with all the technology in music, why make your sounds retro and nearly annoying?  The only answer Justice could muster was, “Because we said so,” and frankly, it works.  Justice does what it wants because they know what they’re doing and have a mass following to back them up.

Justice was formed in 2003 and shortly afterwards became prominent with a remix of a Simian song called “Never Be Alone.” Justice has been talked about ever since because they reinvented what it means to be a part of the electronic music movement. Electronica isn’t “Sandstorm” or those songs you hear on the radio with a base keyboard line and a recycled drumbeat; Justice is art. Justice is real talent projected into electronic music.

Justice gives Electronica merit because they actually put hard work into their albums, unlike most Electronica artists out there.  Each one of their songs is catchy and incorporates different genres, most famously, rock and disco. Justice is of course wonderful by themselves but have also helped other artists rocket to fame, like Wale.  Yeah, that song “W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.” isn’t his—it’s Justice’s.

Audio, Video, Disco is a refreshing album in today’s cesspool of “music” for reasons mentioned before: it’s classy, it’s original, it’s disco, it’s pop, it’s catchy, it’s upbeat, etc.  Songs like “On’n’on,” “Horsepower,” “Civilization,” “Parade” and “Ohio” stick out on the album, but this isn’t to say there are duds on the album.  Each song is as powerful as the last and literally forces you to tap along with the bass drum punch punch punch in every song.

Justice is in a good spot in their career because they’ve established themselves on a sold-out world tour and a critically acclaimed album.  Justice could have done whatever they wanted on Audio, Video, Disco, but they didn’t.  Justice stayed true to their own style, but fantastically impress with new ideas and creative sounds.  On “Parade,” the main hook is a guitar line, not a keyboard.  The drumbeat is simple and elegant.

The song keeps adding layers: first an organ line, then a chorus of singers, then a ridiculous breakdown.  The song shows Justice as the unstoppable electronic force that they are.  Justice makes you love the 1980s all over again (especially if you missed them) and fall in love with electronic music in general.

Audio, Video, Disco is an aural assault of bliss.  The album clocks in at 46 minutes; all of which you won’t be able to stop at least one part of your body from moving and bobbing.  You just can’t. Justice physically reaches out of your computer with its transcendent musical limbs and forces you to kick your head back in forth in its socket. A fabulous return to form for the electronic gods: Justice, we salute you.