Justice have returned. No not the Justice league or some sort of societal force, but the French electro duo that had an unmistakable impact on electronic music in the late 2000s. The pair of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay has released their first album in five years, Woman.
With a wait this long and the past two albums being so groundbreaking, expectations will inevitably be very high, maybe too high. That is the nature of the music industry today and the single-driven need to constantly consume new music.
Woman is a great album. Justice deliver on that point. The pair hold on to the gritty electro sound that they brought to the world on † in 2007 and then draw on different influences to make this album unique from their past works.
Whereas † was their introduction to the world and cemented the Justice sound in the minds of everyone who heard it, 2011's Audio, Video, Disco veered off a little into the realms of rock n roll with more bombastic riffs and melodies.
Woman sounds like a group who has grown up five years and the time they have spent as rock stars (see their documentary) has taken a toll. It is more subdued, with some heavy disco influence throughout the album, like the expansive, synth-heavy ballad "Randy." "Safe and Sound" sets the tone for that change with its sweeping violin, soothing female chorus, funky bass line and shimmering synths. It was a smart play by the group to lead with this single over the summer to give fans time to adjust to what was about to come with the LP.
That is not to say there aren't heavy, traditional Justice records on this album. "Alakazam!" stands out as the most familiar sounding record.
There is plenty to digest in Woman and it is a change from the past - it would be impossible not to expect that. Evolution is welcome from an artist and seeing disco incorporated into their gritty brand of electro has worked out for Rosnay and Augé. Only time will tell if this becomes as timeless as their 2007 debut.
Stream Woman below and pick up a copy here.