Prog rock and stadium-ready sounds have always been a part of Justice. Hell, Gaspard Auge has worn his love of Yes on his belt buckle since day one. It’s not surprising then, that they would release a record filled to the brim with 1970s throwback rock — the same way it’s not surprising that the McRib has 70 ingredients. Much in the same way that a McRib is a little delicious in spite of itself, Audio, Video, Disco is incredible in spite of itself. It’s awesome even though it’s trying to be sleazy and gross.
Granted, Cross was one of the dirtiest albums to be released in the last decade. Even with the plucky pop gems “D.A.N.C.E” and “DVNO”, it’s covered in special French club grime and clad in leather like the two skinny Parisians who made it. Regardless, Cross had more club gems than anything released since the heyday of Daft Punk. Audio, Video, Disco is not Cross – it has nothing as earworm-y as “D.A.N.C.E” nor anything as crazy as “Waters of Nazareth”. What it does have, though, are balls to spare. It has soaring vocals, thumping bass, guitar tones that weave in and out and prog keys straight out of a Yes record.
Tracks like “Civilization” with its bombast, “On and On” with its manufactured swagger and “Ohio” with its gothic keys are all cheesy, sure, but they also make you dance. “Civilization” in particular, boasting a hugeness and groovy breaks, will make even the most ardent hater of clubs put on his leather bomber and bust out on the dance floor. In the end, isn’t that what we want out of Justice?
Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge, by their own admission, are not musicians, and Prog Rock is truly a musician’s genre. The most successful bands were the ones filled with music dorks that could do literally anything on their respective instruments. AVD betrays the fact that these boys are better with a computer than with a guitar, but it’s that balls-to-the-wall attitude, the willingness and desire to fail spectacularly in creating a prog record, that makes it such an amazing club album. Dancing is all about not giving a fuck, and Justice made AVD all about not giving a fuck. They simply fused two things they loved and, in the process, happened to make a sound that will probably lead the way forward for dance music in the coming years.
Sure, the fusion of arena-ready prog rock and techno seems surprising, but one listen to Audio, Video, Disco proves that it was the obvious next step in the continuing saga of Justice. The Parisian’s created another record for dirty, dirty dancing and made it a great listen in the process. It’s grimy, messy and more than a little sleazy, but that’s their sexy charm. Now, take out the leather bomber and Yes belt buckle hiding under your bed, and go dance.