Audio, Video, Disco
Want to start my review with one simple question: Does it get much cooler than Daft Punk?
I didn’t think so. The highly secretive, highly influential Parisian electronic duo has enjoyed a sort of legendary status, between their humongous dance-rock hits like “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and their legendary pyramid live show. So while I am not in any way reviewing Daft Punk, I am reviewing another French dance duo that has gotten in on the Daft Punk magic, creating a slightly darker, more driven take on Daft Punk’s dance rock style. On their fantastically-titled second album, Audio, Video, Disco, Justice produces some more enjoyable riff-led dance-rock but trade their daring dark edge for a mundane nod to classic rock.
Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Ronsay, the two ridiculously French named members of Justice, have an excellent understanding of dance music, but the two got their starts playing in Metallica and Nirvana cover bands, and that sort of head-bobbing hard rock is very frequent throughout AVD. First single “Civilization” has a building metal precursor that is reminiscent of Sabbath’s all-powerful “War Pigs”, before kicking into some infectious disco rock. Much of AVD has a sort of prog-rock hugeness to it, which works only a portion of the time. It does just kill on “Canon (Primo)” and “Canon”, which combined are four minutes of just straight-forward riffage, like an epic Guitar Hero duel done completely on synthesizers. “Newlands” has a stair-climbing opening riff borrowed straight from AC-DC, before kicking into probably the catchiest song on the album, even if it does pull a few too many classic rock clichés.
^Holy Water Buffaloes!
In other spots, these rock theatrics grow very tiresome. “Ohio” has a silly prog-rock a cappella opening sort of intro and comes off as just a bit silly with the two Frenchmen just naming U.S. states over a basic beat and a tedious harpsichord loop. “On ‘n’ On” is fairly similar to “Ohio” in style but fares much better with its bouncy vocals, restrained synth melody, and faux-flute solo. “Parade” follows, and has a charming enough melody but just gets stuck up in the stomp-stomp-clap mode and never goes anywhere with it. “Helix is about as bad as it gets on AVD, with some fairly square riffs and some cheesy 80’s vocal bit recycled over and over.
Unfortunately, nothing on Audio, Video, Disco sticks with you like “Genesis”, “D.A.N.C.E.”, and “DVNO” off of their stellar self-titled debut. There is little here that is going to hurt you to listen to, but it is simply not as interesting or as involved as it could be. Like Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”, one of their only tedious moments, Justice’s AVD has plenty of fine dance-rock riffage but they just don’t offer anything beyond the surface, offering very little to turn back to in a month’s time.
Can’t Miss: “Canon”, “On ‘n’ On”, “Civilization”
Can’t Hit: “Helix”, “Ohio”, “Audio, Video, Disco”