After waiting half a decade we finally have the latest studio offering from Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé, and it’s a disco-coated cosmic trip, of all things. Continuing the groovy ambitions of previous album ‘Audio, Video, Disco’, 2016 sees Justice swap indie bite for frequent psychedelic and retro flourishes that sound both fresh and purposefully dated.
Considering that their nearest contemporaries/influences Daft Punk marched the same route to phenomenal success, with 2013s ‘Random Access Memories’, it’s a risky route to take. Overall, it’s one that pays off, but not without some missteps along the way.
Opener ‘Safe and Sound’ leads the charge: a choir of voices, funked-out bass and orchestral sweeps creating a classic Justice floorfiller. ‘Pleasure’ follows in a similar vein but with added vocals and cheesy handclaps for flared perfection. Elsewhere, ‘Fire’ masterfully throws a Stevie Wonder sound in with a touch of ’90s French house, while the main melody of ‘Heavy Metal’ is just too close for comfort to DJ Shadow’s iconic ‘Organ Donor’.
What works on ‘Woman’ truly does with aplomb, but it arguably stands as the group’s least unique effort, and with some of that old punk snarl now removed perhaps they’ve lost some of that addictive danger.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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