It’s been a while in the making, but Justice’s second album is finally upon us. 4 years ago we were treated with debut Cross’ upbeat Daft Punk meets the indie dance-floor style as D.A.N.C.E. emerged at the start of the 2007 summer season. From start to finish, it was never a dull moment and to this day, you can put the opening seconds of their breakthrough track with Simian Mobile Disco on and you instantly get a chant of "we, are, your friends!" no matter where you are.
So after a heck of a lot of silence later, they emerged at the start of the year with Civilisation. Premiering on an Adidas advert, and now the first track proper on Audio, Video, Disco after the fist-pumpingly powerful Horsepower, it’s a standout. Canon sounds like a mix between Metronomy’s Nights Out and Daft Punk’s Robot Rock in equal measure which makes you start to wonder if Justice are losing their edge, so to speak. That’s the issue here. In their absence, Justice have been replaced. On the indie dance side, you’ve got the likes of Everything Everything and Metronomy and on the other side, Simian and Daft Punk are still forces to be reckoned with. Listening through Audio, Video Disco isn’t like listening to much new, instead it’s like Justice have spent the last few years listening through the artists they find most influential and created their own mixtape in dedication. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they’ve stolen anything or that there’s not artists out there who, in the last few years haven’t capitalised on Augé and de Rosnay’s success as a duo, but Justice are now simply the frontrunners in a genre they helped bring to the foreground of music.
The combination of house and electro that they supported Daft Punk in bringing forward post Human After All in 2006, is now a much more open field than Cross was released into. Audio, Video, Disco is a good album full of new tracks that make sense and play well, but there’s nothing anthemic to be found here. Either side of Civilisation and the title track at the end, only Parade sounds like it could be released to an emphatic response, and even that’s at a push. Newlands is for all intensive purposes a track that wouldn’t sound out of place in a world where the D in AC/DC stands for Disco and On’N’On could easily have been made by anyone on the DFA roster over in NYC. So it seems all this waiting’s been in vain. Luckily, it’s going to bring about some new live shows which are when Justice can prove this album has the potential to be a tour de force when mixed with the likes of DVNO and Phantom, but until then, it’s hard to say what this means for the French masterminds.
By Braden Fletcher