Audio, Video, Disco (Ed Banger)
For a duo of French beatmakers trying by default to escape Daft Punk’s shadow, Justice spends much of its sophomore album following up on the promise of that group’s Alive 2007, which blurred forever the line between rave and live rock show. It’s not a calculated move; Audio, Video, Disco is very much a studio record, and Justice isn’t cribbing from Daft Punk any more than anyone else in the bodyrock game. What they’ve done is embrace dance music and arena rock’s common ground, and written songs that make you want to throw your hands up in both languages.
Trading the stuttering, shrink-wrapped bass of their 2007 debut for distorted guitars and stadium-size drums, Justice spends much of Audio, Video, Disco recalling specific monsters of rock. “Newlands” milks a wispy AC/DC rhythm-guitar build-up before breaking into Black Sabbath riffery; synthy progressive rock pomp hovers over the “Horsepower” and “Canon”; and centerpiece “On’n’On” will leave you scouring liner notes in disbelief that two French DJs could fully reimagine Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” without a single sample. Still, the bombast never seems secondhand, with context-free highlights like “Civilization” and the title track proving Justice’s natural inclination toward huge, all-purpose party jams. (It’s a small pity that they’re still willing to banish worthy sounds and hooks to the filler tracks and lesser pop songs that occupy roughly half the record, but that’s as faithful to the rock ’n’ roll conceit as anything else.) Audio, Video, Disco may or may not make Justice the touring behemoth they apparently aspire to be, but it’s at least the best chance you’ll ever have to get classic rock radio fans interested in French disco.