Search The Line of Best Fit
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Justice step out from the machines to show their human side


Release date: 18 November 2016
Justice Woman
18 November 2016, 13:45 Written by Chris Todd
French duo Justice’s debut, 2007’s †, is very much a product of its time. The hard electro beats and abrasive riffs slotted in perfectly with the likes of Kitsune and Ed Banger compilations while also appealing to fans of dance-influenced indie acts such as Klaxons or purer electronic artists like Simian Mobile Disco.

Putting dance music structure aside for a more live, band sounding approach, the follow up, 2011’s Audio, Video, Disco proved to be more substantial. Of their two previous albums, it's aged better. Similar to Daft Punk’s Human After All, itwas a step back to the early ‘70’s rock records of their childhood, reimagining how they would sound with better electronics. Where for Daft Punk it was an uncomfortable fit (albeit one which produced their most interesting work) with Justice, it was a natural choice. Tracks such as “On 'n' On” took their funky sound and bolted it onto huge John Bonham style drums, and “Civilisation” was a camp re-reading of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” given a massive bump and transported to the disco, helping the album crossover and bagging them a headline set at Coachella in the process.

For their third album, Justice have continued with an organic approach to their sound, and there's real lushness to parts of this record. The live instrumentation of opener “Safe And Sound” shows them mastering the sounds they were visiting on AVD, the slap bass and soaring strings culminating in a modern disco classic.“Pleasure” takes its cue from the sumptuous nu-R&B of Thundercat; it’s sleek and hooky, contemporary sounding but equally as indebted to Al Green or Hall & Oates records. This is a new sound for Justice, and one which fits like a glove.

The 80’s FM radio sheen evident through the majority of the album is best executed on “Stop”; widescreen and shiny, the trancey synth lines here sparkle and nag, the guitars crunch, and the multi-tracked vocals revisit their classic “D.A.N.C.E.”. Toward the end of the album, “Love S.O.S” is a huge ecstasy anthem designed to make the crowd break out into unparalleled expressions of joy when played live. Not only is this an expert example of musical euphoria, it shows how Empire of The Sun (who tried something similar on their recently released misfiring album Two Vines), for all their valiant attempts, are incapable of producing something electronic but with such warmth and emotion.

Unlike their beginnings as an instrumental act with the odd vocal sample here and there, Woman is a mainly vocal record, and it’s one on the whole that follows a singular path. When they do turn their attention to more dancefloor friendly material though, we have album high points. “Alakazam!” returns to the harder edged techno of their early sound but with more intricate details and an acknowledgment of early ‘80’s soundtracks, while the pounding “Chorus” is the key track here; a grinding seven minute techno epic, all key components of their sound are contained within. Masters of a tension-filled breakdown (check the three nervous minutes of their Auto mix of “Stress” for a lesson in a slow build), here they use the sound of electronic dysfunction and fuzz and layer tribal drumbeats on top, before even something as simple as a sample of a tambourine proves to be a pivotal moment as it heralds the point the wordless choral vocal 'ahhs' and a brilliantly messy guitar riff break into a piano line on edge, while finally adding reverbed whistles that sound like spooky B Movie Theremin samples. It’s a staggering piece of textured techno.

For the majority of Woman, Justice are acting out their pop dreams through machinery. Where in the past they’ve allowed to let the equipment do the talking, here, they show that they too are human after all.

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