The jury's out on Justice this time

Eamon Carr

WHAT the hell was I thinking?

Perhaps it was the ecstatic feeling of unalloyed happiness that I was feeling last night. You know how it can be sometimes.

But a knee-trembler is not a love affair.

And so today, the second album from this knowing French pop duo sounds less endearing than it did.

Describing this new collection as "bedroom music" is surely their idea of an in-joke.


If not, then I'd be concerned for the chap's neighbours, as things that might go bump in the night are prone to making noises like a small industrial plant crossed with Tales from Topographic Oceans.

A lot of people got a bit overexcited by Cross, the duo's debut album. Though containing a few hits, it sounded lumpy and ungainly. Not a complete dog, pig's ear or gnat's arse.

To the casual listener, Justice might sound like they're first cousins of Daft Punk, the snotty branch of the family whose dad lost all his hair headbanging to Uriah Heep and Supertramp way back when in the '70s.

An Adidas advert by Romain Gavras, featuring Lionel Messi and David Beckham, and edited to the brutally tough syncopation of Civilization has gone way past a million hits on YouTube.

So, Justice are successfully doing their commercial dance.

The template is set in stone. Smack down hard with the electro sledgehammer and then add what The Troggs infamously described as "a little bit of fucking fairy dust over the bastard".

In this case, the "fairy dust" amounts to large dollops of cod-prog and slices of what DJs with triple-barrelled names once termed "arena rock".

The formula has certain charms, for sure. But, with a few exceptions, it has a tendency to become tiresome too quickly to warrant shelling out a bunch of your hard-earned dosh on it.


Horsepower cranks up the sonic depth charges, the thumping beat and the fists in the air hyperbole one associates with films like Top Gun. And all of this before it shifts gear and sidles into a cosmic back alley where it meets members of ersatz prog-rockers Styx and Yes changing their florescent socks.

Civilization is portentous. There is absolutely no doubting that Justice speak English better than I do French, but I'm not persuaded to forgive them for "Dance to the ground by the whim of the merciless sky...".

James Joyce lived in bloody Paris for years and this is the best they can manage! Shame. C'est dommage!

Thankfully, Justice retain an ability to raise a smile and on Canon (Interlude) they manage to invoke an era when even their Satanic Majesties, The Rolling Stones, went a bit Elizabethan and fey.

Sitting around the City of Light has inspired the duo to find novel ways to re-cycle vintage riffs to contemporary dancefloor effect. The underlying thump of Parade is a deconstructed interpretation of Queen's We Will Rock You, not that it will upset you.

But, the hope they would have done something extraordinary remains, unfortunately, unfulfilled. HHHII