Justice – ‘Woman’ Review

After a five-year break, everyone’s second favourite French dance duo return with a near-perfect disco album

The third album from French dance duo Justice – they’re sort of Daft Punk with tighter jeans – is a tour-de-force that more than justifies the five-year break since their last outing, 2011’s progtastic ‘Audio, Video, Disco’. These are cold, pounding disco tunes with bursts of soul and swirling psychedelia. It’s hard to think of a 2016 album that’s more compact or crafted with such attention to detail. And too few are as much of an absolute bloody laugh as these 10 tracks.

Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay first found success almost 10 years ago, with 2007’s ‘†’ (pronounced ‘Cross’), a collection of electro-pop bangers that boasted the killer single ‘D.A.N.C.E’, which remains a stone-cold classic. The 2011 follow-up was made with similarly minute precision, but was more complex and seemed less likely to be played in the kitchen at the best house party you’ve ever been to.

Here, then, the duo are back to doing what they do best. Only ‘Heavy Metal’, with its spindly keyboard riff, creeps back into prog territory. For the most part, though, ‘Woman’ sees Justice on a mission to move your feet. Opening track ‘Safe And Sound’ starts with floating female vocals, before a ludicrous wallop of slap bass ushers in a buoyant funk verse. It sounds expensive and confident, summing up the record. ‘Alakazam!’ follows a similar template with a more menacing tone, while ‘Randy’ demonstrates the album’s pop persuasion, combining a falsetto vocal with shimmering keyboard notes. The latter, a standout, wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to Baz Luhrmann’s excellent Netflix drama The Get Down.

In 2008 Justice released A Cross The Universe, a documentary about their three-week US tour, complete with arrests, a drunken quickie wedding (Augé is still technically married in the state of Nevada) and a gun-toting manager. It looked like they were driving themselves slowly insane. Watching it, you might not have guessed that they’d release a collection of perfectly formed disco bangers in 2016, yet ‘Woman’ is a joyous album of hope and optimism. Good on ’em.

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