Justice’s ‘Audio Video Disco’: Not enough sensory overload

October 24, 2011
Justice
Audio Video Disco

Justice’s 2007 debut, “†,” was a crossover smash, one of the first albums to predict the current trend of electronic music becoming the new arena rock. Songs such as “D.A.N.C.E.” and “DVNO” — sleazy slabs of synths, the soundtrack of that exact moment when a packed club is at its sweatiest and drunkest — made the French duo of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay stars. They were the link between the stadium-ready house of Daft Punk and the more mindless, blasting beats favored by the current rave generation.

On “Audio Video Disco,” Justice doesn’t attempt to outdo the dilated-pupil debauchery of its debut. Nor does it take the other common path for a high-pressure follow-up and veer off in artier, more experimental directions.

Instead, Justice simply sticks to the same formula, only this time with less fist-pumping bravado. The problem is that bravado is Justice’s entire appeal. If it’s not turned to 11, then it may as well not be plugged in.

“Civilization” and “Parade” feature the key elements in the Justice arsenal — irresistibly chunky synthesizers and thumping beats — and they are presented with crisp clarity. But every time it feels like liftoff is imminent, the duo reins itself in.

“On’n’On” and “Ohio” both march forth with precision and seem like they’d be a perfect complement to a laser light show. But when Justice is at its best, the disco-house assault it creates is sensory overload on its own. And there just aren’t enough of those moments on this album.


Cover art for Justice's album "Audio Video Disco." (Courtesy of Ed Banger Records)

— David Malitz

Recommended Tracks

“Civilization,” “Parade”

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