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Album review: Justice's 'Audio, Video, Disco'

October 24, 2011 |  4:52 pm

Album review: Justice's 'Audio, Video, Disco'

Xavier de Rosnay, half of the Parisian electronic duo Justice, has been telling the press that its second album, “Audio, Video, Disco,” is “bedroom music.” This might be accurate, if your bedroom has lighting rigs and holds 50,000 dancing people.

Justice, which made its name crusading around the world’s dance festivals, lighting a blazing cross onstage while pummeling the crowd of neon fanny-packers with operatic electro-house, returns with a record that sounds like the lush prog fantasia of Yes but manicured by club-hopping control freaks. For every guitar that ventures down a sonic maze in baroquely constructed songs such as “Canon,” there are the brutally executed rhythmic stops of the lean showpiece “Civilization.” As soon as the music really wanders, the demand for the beat collars it back.

That push-pull creates a tension that makes “Audio, Video, Disco” feel like an exciting exercise on the way to something more developed but not a cohesive or particularly welcoming album. Part of the problem is that the production is so dry that even astronaut food probably has more moisture. Whether it’s a club banger or a rock ’n’ roll symphony, every song has to sound like it’s being freshly delivered to the masses and not freeze-dried. If this is Justice’s version of intimate bedroom music, take us back to the warm confines of the festival field.

Justice
“Audio, Video, Disco”
Ed Banger/Because/Elektra/Vice
Two and one-half stars (out of four)

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— Margaret Wappler

 

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