Well the time has finally come. What has it been like 3 years? 4 years? Yeah, something like that. The world's favourite French duo (sorry Daft Punk... seems like the buzz from your amazing Tron Legacy soundtrack has faded... come back soon though please!) are back with their second album. Of course, this is not a big shock (well, if you've just woken up from a loooong coma then i suppose it will) as the hype train has been going along at full speed like the bullet train for a while now. Right off the bat, I will freely admit that I was fucking scared of this moment. How the hell can you follow up a fantastic album like Cross? When I first heard "Civilization" I thought, "This is it!? All this time and you give us what sounds like an unused track from your debut!?". Like I said, I was scared. Scared that I would hate the forthcoming album from my beloved Justice. In fact, stupidly, I was quite a negative so and so about it. Well, today I picked up a copy and today I will review this album.
I won't be giving a track by track look at this album because that takes the fun away from listening to the album for yourself. First thing I would like to say is big respect to the Justice boys. Going for a completely new direction musically. There is a clear influence of prog rock with this album (which shouldn't be a surprise to fans because if you have heard the rejected Fabric mix and... yeah this hardcore... the photos on Gaspard's Myspace page from way back, you will know the sort of music the guys like). Being a fan of prog rock myself and music from the 70's to early 80's this is a pleasant surprise to me. One thing I will say before I carry on is after some research, apparently the boys had to learn new instruments and techniques to get the wide array of sounds you hear on the album. As a musician myself, that aspect appeals to me also.
First things first. What a beautiful looking cover. I think the copy I picked up was the "deluxe" silver edition. I could be wrong though. If it is, awesome, if not... no biggy it's still a nice presentation, especially the the use of silver "mmmm shiny things!!!!!". Inside is quite nice too, really simply presented and a nice foreword by Pedro (Busy P W.T.F!?). There is also a nice looking mini posted as you can see in the photo below. The disc art itself is nothing to write home (or on your blog) about as it's just a disc but hey, it's silver i guess! If you where one of the lucky 30 to pick this album up from Colette in Paris you would have got a nice Justice coin with your copy... lucky bastar... So now it is time to tell you about the actual music on the album right? Ok then...
Like I said, I'm not gonna go into each track and pick them apart. You will know what the deal is anyway if you have heard Civilization and Audio Video Disco plus the minimix released some time a go. You know that the guys have picked up the guitar and other new instruments for this one. This album isn't gonna give you the next D.A.N.C.E or the next Waters Of Nazareth. You aren't going to get many floor fillers with this one. What you are gonna get is two guys who want to try something new and go in a different direction. Some of the major similarities I noticed listening to this was the stuff like Goblin. Throughout, there are some moments that sound like the music has been lifted from an Italian giallo or horror movie from the 70's. In fact Helix has a part of it where it sounds like the creepy aspects of Goblin's Slow Circus. Of course the more seasoned prog rock fans will pick up on more. To tray and describe everythign about this album would be hard. One certainty is that like Cross, there are no skippable tracks. OK the guitar work and the drums might not be technically brilliant but the simplicity just works well. There are moments that scream Justice like the main parts of songs like Helix and Civilization and also some subtle reminders of the old Justice we love that are dotted around in every song. Don't get me wrong, this is a new side of Justice but the stuff we love is still there. I feel this review is doing the album a great injustice (don't!) but all i can say is this sounds like what a good prog rock album should sound like: breaking traditions and keeping the listener interested.
Overall, this is a very solid body of music. Old fans and new fans a like should be able to appreciate this. You are not going to be blown away by the technique of the instruments but it's awesome to see the guys again doing something completely different to what we are used to. The production and things like sampling and programming are top notch but that's to be expected. My expectations where well and truly blown. I feel guilty that I almost lost faith in my boys from Paris as they have provided me with hours of bliss and one of the best live sets I have ever experienced. It would be interesting to see if they tried to take this album and incorporate parts into a live show but that would be very challenging and just not possible in places without bringing other people on stage. There is also the excitement for what's next and what sort of remixes we could see both from Justice themselves and from other talented producers. Will Justice remix songs in this new style? Can people turn this rocky body of music into a piece of electric bliss? What will their sets and possible live shows be like? This album has got my juices flowing. The Justice fanboy from a few years a go is back. All these months dreading this album... how bad is that!? Guys, you have to at least give this album a listen. I still adore the first album and consider it in my top 10 but man, this was a nice surprise. Well done to Justice not only bringing out a great album but for the work they put into it. I would happily give this album a 9/10. Go into this one with an open mind, I can understand why some of you will dread it, I used to be like that.
We <3 U EDREC!
We <3 U EDREC!