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    Fri, 06 Jul 2007 17:39:49

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    Album Reviews: Cross by Justice

    This cryptically-titled release marks the crest of a wave of anticipation that's been building for every drop of new material from Paris' Ed Banger label. French-duo Justice are populists to the core, and they don't disappoint here with a dozen tracks that are guaranteed to fill, if not overwhelm, any dancefloor.

    Justice go in big for '80s hair-metal hooks, major-key synth ditties and other showy schticks that will rub minimalist house purists the wrong way. And while the melodies they favor are the aural equivalent of prime rib, the results are anything but easily digested. All of the big tunes included on Cross—"Let There Be Light," "Waters of Nazareth" and "Phantom"—feature dirty, stuttering electro drums and tidal waves of caustic mid-range distortion. Theirs is a funny sort of populism, smothering hands-in-the-air hooks in devilish dissonance.

    Even when Justice stray from this combo, which has rightly made their name, their impish sense of fun always prevails; there's the wacky glitch-house of "New Jack," the kitschy, naive melodies of "Valentine" and, of course, the unlikely single—campy filter-disco cut "D.A.N.C.E.", with its Mickey Mouse Club chorus. Only occasionally do they falter, as on the overly-amped "Stress" and the egregious "Tthhee Ppaartrtyy" with Uffie.

    Cross is an absurd, spastic and edgy caricature of house music, initially baffling and ultimately thrilling. In short, it's utterly rave—whether you're ready or not.

    —Toby Warner

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