Review: Justice's Album - "Woman"
The Album's Dancefloor Directed Nu-Disco & Synth-Pop Rousers
Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, aka French electronic production duo Justice don’t reinvent themselves on their third studio record ‘Woman’.
They freely revisit and repurpose the same kind of trend-setting electro that has made them international dance icons.
So long-time followers of the Parisian twosome should find something to satisfy them on the new release.
The front end of the LP is home to a line-up of dancefloor-directed, funky nu-disco and synth-pop rousers.
Conversely, the album’s latter end diverges into more experimental concepts, subtle textures and in the case of ‘Close Call’, reflective backdrops.
Fifty percent of ‘Woman’ consists of instrumentals, while the rest of the material employs guest vocalists.
‘Woman’ contains nothing brooding or morose, its production is buoyant and endlessly inventive.
The album is endowed with more than a few psychedelic flavours - no one can accuse Justice of stealing ideas.
Creative Wizardry, Calculated Intelligence and Club Prowess
Admittedly, despite it's vibrancy, ‘Woman’ can sound comfortable, a kind of hunger is missing.
The album takes everything in its cool stride, and feels a little contented as a result.
The boys demonstrate their creative wizardry and club prowess on cuts ‘Safe And Sound’ and 'Alakazam !’, yet a surprisingly undemanding aura hangs over the rest of the album.
Engrossing, mind-bendingly intricate tunes like ‘Close Call’ and ‘Heavy Metal’ could easily go over listeners’ heads. Additionally, ‘Randy’ and ’Pleasure’ have more than a couple of structural and creative similarities.
Overall, ‘Woman’ is not as irrefutable as Justice’s previous efforts, still, the project boasts a range of highlights.
It just takes a while to fully appreciate, or even process the record’s calculated intelligence.
"Alakazam !": The Perfect Soundtrack For A Long Car Ride
Featuring vocals from Morgan Phalen, the mindlessly cheery lyrics of ’Pleasure’ encourage listeners to reach for their dreams and let their imaginations run free.
The unabashedly joyous standout is carefree, but collected. It’s not as busy as some of the tracks that surround it.
‘Alakazam !’ is the perfect soundtrack to a long car journey, it’s steered by a measured, rolling momentum.
In many ways, the tune is a close family member of lead single ‘Safe And Sound’ - both contain deeply seductive basslines.
Dotted with modern quirks, glitchy production stunts and whistle-friendly refrains, ‘Alakazam !’ doesn’t impact in bits and pieces like the LP’s comparatively ambitious offerings, it feels fluid.
Sections of ‘Alakazam !’ sound like they’re going to momentarily burst into something rigorous, but the tune never surrenders its composure.
"Fire" Comes Served With A Range of Funky Trimmings
The leisured disco/funk of ‘Fire’ showcases a slew of production flourishes.
Served alongside a range of funky trimmings, the catchy, immediate tune is designed to coax people onto the dancefloor.
Containing numerous retro ideas, ’Chorus’ is a seven-minute electro extravaganza and the tracklisting’s most enterprising effort.
‘Chorus’ feels unbound, its epic instrumental is odd and go-getting. The cut packs in dirty guitar sounds, ethereal synths and extra-terrestrial elements.
Blessed With Two Choruses, "Randy" Unfolds Without A Care
Morgan Phalen’s light falsetto is the star of highlight ‘Randy’, which is split into multiple sections by warped, mechanical music breaks.
‘Randy’ is interesting because it essentially has two choruses, and both effectively open up the song.
Unaffected by the fact the album version of ‘Randy’ is over six-minutes long, the hi-res pop song’s happy-go-lucky lyrics prop up and encourage listeners to look on the bright side of life.
It delights in being overly happy and sunny, the track unfolds without a care.
‘Heavy Metal’ is dramatic, experimental electronica. It’s stomping and theatrical - ‘Heavy Metal’ bites harder than anything else on ‘Woman’.
The tune can feel ruptured, like it’s made up of disparate bits and pieces.
‘Heavy Metal’ takes the offbeat, zany flair Justice are known for and turbo-charges it into oblivion.
"Love S.O.S" Glows With A Warm, Enveloping and Inviting Spirit
Featuring vocals from Romuald Louverjon, ’Love S.O.S’ is a soothing grower. The track glows warmly with a non-invasive, enveloping and inviting spirit.
It’s roaming melodies all have a fraternal, brotherhood/sisterhood vibe attached to them. Somehow the song’s wailing siren synth lead fits cosily into its tempered production.
Album finale ‘Close Call’ is a dreamy, layered and reflective composition.
Using large-scale synth pads and airy background vocals, it emanates a sense of fantasy and becomes further decorated as it plays out.
Though the song’s inner workings are probably complicated, on the surface ‘Close Call’ can come across straightforward and simplistic.
Because the track sounds as if it's genuinely reflecting on everything that's come before it on 'Woman', ‘Close Call’ very naturally concludes the record.
Verdict: ******* 7.5/10
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