Webster’s English Dictionary should go ahead and put the album art for Audio, Video, Disco beside the definition of sophomore slump. The first album from the French electrohouse duo, †, was just about perfect in every regard. However, Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay took many of its positive aspects and threw them out the window. De Rosnay couldn’t have put it better when he explained that Audio, Video, Disco is daytime music and not as aggressive as the first album. Unfortunately for Justice, most of their fans sleep during the day.
The album starts off strong; the first two tracks, “Horsepower” and the single “Civilization” are bangers which wouldn’t be out of place on †. However, what follows is a hodgepodge of gospel-infused, disco-house music, which is about as polished as a third grade finger painting. The sound resembles a cross between the Justice we used to know and Steve Vai. Additionally, the transitions are full stops, entirely interrupting any flow on the album.
There are a couple of tracks which succeed with the new style. “On’n’On” features a strong bass line complemented by a subtle treble harmony, and the title track is a soothing walk through Justice’s new direction.
One redeeming factor is the inclusion of “Planisphere,” a single the band released on MySpace in 2008. It’s a welcome window into what Justice used to be: dirty bass lines perfectly contrasted with vocals and treble twangs. But Audio, Video, Disco just doesn’t do the band justice.