Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Justice, “Cross”

First a disclaimer.  The title of this debut album by Justice is the symbol of a cross which I don’t know how to reproduce here, hence the scare quotes around “Cross”.  With that out of the way, justicewhat kind of record is it?  Blistering, bottom heavy, noise blasted dance music that works so well and sounds so fresh it’s a rush – for the most part.  Justice are Frenchmen Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Auge who had made a name for themselves as remixers before the release of “Cross”.  The song D.A.N.C.E. became a viral internet hit and “Cross” followed.

Most of the music on “Cross” combines a sharply delineated, very powerful and subsonically impregnated bottom end with industrial and electronic noise sliced into rhythmic segments that excite rather than annoy.  Rather than rely on numbing and exhausting mega-high bpm rhythms to bludgeon the audience into submission, Justice produce eminently danceable music using more user-friendly disco rhythms.  Electronica creators often use static, sirens, synthesized screeches and other forms of electronic noise in ways that are both unpleasant and, by this point in time, hackneyed.  Justice use all these familiar sounds but they make them work with an unerring sense of rhythm and meter. 

I’d like to say that almost all of the tracks on “Cross” are instrumentals but “instrumentals” sounds like an outmoded term for this electronically conceived and produced music.  How about non-vocals.  The problem comes with the few vocal tracks.  D.A.N.C.E. melds The Go! Team style of jump-rope, pep squad vocals with Justice’s huge bottom end and the combination works like a charm.  No problem there, it’s a terrific tune.  But then come back-to-back tracks “TThhee PPaarrttyy” and DVNO, two vocals that suck all the air right out of the album.  The first is a “let’s get drunk and party” rap with the kind of lyrics that were old, tired and boring 10 minutes after they were first used sometime in them last century.  It’s been done a zillion times before and is a complete momentum killer.  DVNO which immediatly follows combines the big bottom with a hand-clap disco vocal that once again sounds old and tired.  Been there, done that too many times to do it again.  Fortunately Justice get back to what they do so well on the next track, “Stress” and continue on in that vein to the finish.  With the exception of that two song interlude, “Cross” is a great album that accomplishes something that many have striven for and few have achieved.  It makes electronic driven dance music sound fresh, exciting and dangerous again.

One possible caveat about sound.  Our main sound system uses electronic room correction to control the bass being put out by two full range speakers combined with two subwoofers.  With this setup the bottom end on “Cross” is exceptionally tight, powerful and sharp and packs an enormous wallop.  It’s brilliant.  Listening to the album on a system without the room correction leaves a big bottom end but, as is always the case with bass, the sound is muddied and the huge, sharp punch is muted.  Also, without the subsonic capability of the subwoofers the overall bottom end is less powerful.  The differences between the sound of the album on the different sound systems are marked, this is an album that sounds much better on the high-end gear.  On the up side, “Cross” is a terrific demo disc to show listeners what well-designed room correction combined with a powerful bass output can do; on the down side, well-designed room correction is not often present in home sound systems.

Music from this CD can be heard on Tuned In To Music Podcast 013 – Music Without Words and Tuned In To Music Podcast 015 – Rockin’ the Dancefloor


08/30/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews


  1. […] Disco” , which includes a Simian Mobile Disco tune that does not appear on ADSR, or “ Justice’s “Cross”“,  which presents dance oriented electronica with some different sounds and styles, ADSR is […]

    Pingback by Review: Simian Mobile Disco, Attack Decay Sustain Release « Tuned In To Music | 08/30/2007 | Reply

  2. […] European dance labels mainly becasue of the immense buzz surrounding Justice whose album “Cross” has been successful in both Europe and the US.  “Ed Rec Vol 2″ is a label […]

    Pingback by Review: Various Artists, Ed Rec Vol 2 « Tuned In To Music | 10/18/2007 | Reply

  3. IT IS AMAZING!!!!!

    Comment by john | 12/15/2008 | Reply

  4. […] (like “let’s make a track that sounds exactly like” derivative) of bands like Justice and Daft Punk.  It doesn’t hurt that I really like Justice and Daft Punk but the key thing […]

    Pingback by Review: Various Artists, Bang Gang 12 Inches Presents a Radicool Compilation « Tuned In To Music | 06/23/2010 | Reply

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