There are few names in the electronic music world that spring to mind when you think about true innovators and craftsmen of the genre as a whole today. Justice, are one of those names, who with their 2007 debut album ‘Cross’ completely changed the game and set the standard for electronic music albums. As well recognised figureheads of the genre, the French duo consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, are back with their third album ‘Woman’. This is the follow up to their 2011 sophomore release, ‘Audio, Video, Disco’, which saw the pair once again combining elements of disco, pop and rock with revolutionary electronica.
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‘Woman’ follows on where ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ left off, and has no trouble telling you that you are indeed listening to a Justice album. The record starts off with ‘Safe and Sound’. A song with angelic choir vocals and slap bass filling the disco back beat. The flowing bass is absolutely brilliant, reminiscent of some of the funk in the tracks from the ‘Cross’ album.
However, dissimilar to their debut, the production quality on ‘Woman’ is far superior, and shows the progress of the duo over the years in this regard. There’s less rumbling distortion and more beautiful 80s sounding synths covering the spectrum in many of the tracks on ‘Woman’. Augé and de Rosnay have certainly added an increased degree of musicality to their third album. Some of the guitar work, on tracks such as ‘Fire’ and Stop’ are demonstrative of this added element.
The album progresses very smoothly as a cohesive unit, making it in turn an enjoyable piece of music to listen to. Similar to the most recent album from their fellow countrymen Daft Punk, this album is a throwback to the music of the 70s and 80s and demonstrates the influence some of this music has had on their work. ‘Chorus’ makes sure you are still awake as arpeggios and more typical Justice distortion slowly build and progress throughout the 7 minute track.
‘Woman’ then fits back into the groove with ‘Randy’, one of the clear standout tracks from the album. Inspiring vocals are a common element in the album, with lyrics on ‘Randy’ such as “Don’t stop, try to make your mark/When you know you’ve arrived”. The high pitch of the vocals here and the production again are clear representatives of the Justice sound that people have come to recognize, with more of an emphasis on the disco elements of the track. The last two tracks sound like love ballads and the lyrics on ‘Love SOS’ speak for themselves in this regard.
Justice have returned with a bang, an impressive step up in production and musicality, while retaining elements of their well know sound. The French duo mark themselves once more as true pioneers in the realm of electronic music.