Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

"Audio, Video, Disco"

Justice – Audio, Video, Disco
01 November 2011, 08:45 Written by Matthew Horton

Should you be the type who pays attention to the promo merry-go-round, you’ll find Justice peddling some odd notions on this spin. They’re selling Audio, Video, Disco with peppered allusions to ELO, The Who, Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult (for pity’s sake) – way to keep your filter techno hip kids on side, mes braves. And they aren’t finished with the alienation: “‘Rustic’ is a good word for this album,” Xavier de Rosnay reckons, conjuring images of the Parisian pair holed up in a Wiltshire farmhouse with Steve Winwood, earnestly jamming some organic veg blues rock for our eternal boredom.

Bucolic power chords, that’s what we’ve been holding out for in the four years since †, their linguistically-jarring debut. Rolling meadows of hard rock riffola. Erm, when’s the next train back to civilisation? But it’s OK – de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé are exaggerating the rock monoliths and downplaying the dance chops. A bit.

Because there’s no escaping the bare truth: Audio, Video, Disco is indeed fat with chunky guitar shapes, airy with flights of prog whimsy. There was enough of a hint on with its quasi-operatic – in the Pete Townshend sense – stretches, but that was still securely tethered to the dancefloor. This time the rock has the edge. Far from ruining the fun though, it makes for a delirious, preposterous record with a couple of techno whizzes remodeling their electro for Castle Donington. Rather than fully morphed, the Justice sound simply becomes unimaginably vast.

So instead it’s a train to ‘Civilization’ where a Manfred Mann’s Earth Band flickering synth crosses blocks of juddering beats and Ali Love – of all the fey singers – growls about “The beating of a million drums / The firing of a million guns” and being “paralysed and possessed by crusaders’ deceit”. Well, quite. ‘Tthhee Ppaarrttyy’ it ain’t. It follows the even larger ‘Horsepower’, a metallic disco beast beefy with skyscraping guitar (or ‘guitar’) and a touch of Hooked On Classics. After these two, things can only get more sensible.

Or they can go all CSN&Y on ‘Ohio’, or devil-horns-in-the-air with ‘Canon’, where anvil-weight riffs take Daft Punk’s ‘Aerodynamic’ somewhere darker. If this all sounds pantomime then… yeah, but the quality’s there in great dollops. Tracks like ‘Helix’, bumping electro breaks against Jean Michel Jarre synth anthemics, or the stop-start jacking ‘On’n’On’ are immediate earworms, and the array of sonic effects colouring ‘Parade’ and ‘Brianvision’ kick up treats that never seem to end. It does all end of course on the soaring title track, slipping through movements like a pocket symphony, full to the brim like the rest of the album. God alone knows what was going through de Rosnay and Augé’s frazzled heads as they made this, but it’s one splendid cock-rocking brainstorm.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next