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Give me Justice!

by John Lockett

Justice exploded onto the scene in 2003 with their Simian remix “We are Your Friends,” solidified themselves as electro-rock gods comparable to Daft Punk after their debut album “†” was released in 2007, then vanished from the radar, a flash of brilliance with the staying power of a spark.

Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé, the French duo behind the band, rode the success of their first album for nearly two years. They released a live album and documentary dubbed “A Cross the Universe,” at the end of 2008 that captured the raw, unbridled energy of their sets and their rock-n-roll lifestyle.

Their songs, which rattled the foundations of nightclubs around the world, were catchy while being difficult to listen to.The purely electronic tracks possessed a certain finesse while being somewhat unrefined. They were obviously inspired by the forefathers of the genre, Daft Punk, but the tunes turned out by Justice were fueled by energy that could hardly be contained by any speaker system.

Then there was nothing.

After touring for a few years and releasing a couple remixes, the highly anticipated follow up album never surfaced. There was speculation that Justice was going to produce a Red Hot Chili Peppers record, but that rumor never came to life. As the ongoing tides of music continued its brutal cycle, Justice seemed to fade away.Justice's New Single Photo Announcement

Then there was light.

It may have only been a flicker of light, but something was happening. On March 11, Justice posted a cryptic picture on their Facebook page, the only web presence they have. The spark set off so many years ago burst into a wildfire of excitement and anticipation. Fans echoed the enthusiasm of Antoine Clips who commented “OH MY F—– GOD.”

Following the epic post of a toppled-over stone cross glowing in a desert, Justice made an announcement:

THE BEATING OF A MILLION DRUMS
THE FIRE OF A MILLION GUNS
THE MOTHER OF A MILLION SONS

“CIVILIZATION”
…First single of Justice’s upcoming album
04-04-11

They were back.

Soon after, Adidas released a commercial featuring the new single. The advert was directed by their old cohort Romain Gavras who directed  “A Cross the Universe” and the music videos for “Stress” and M.I.A.’s “Born Free.” Katy Perry and B.O.B make appearances as the track beats onward through Gavras’ trademark grittiness.

“Civilization” is everything you’d want from Justice. It ‘s guttural. Heavy. A song you can definitely bang your head to. But it’s nothing really different. Their signature overdrive and disco influences are still there with a few flashes of new sounds. Still, it’s what we want to hear. It’s what we’ve been waiting for.

For now, their new album remains a mystery. “Civilization” will be released April 4 and is available on Youtube . Until then, brace yourself. Once Justice unleashes the floodgates, get ready to D.A.N.C.E.

 

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Review: Last Night on Earth by Noah and the Whale

by John Lockett

It happens all the time.

Last Night on Earth released March 7. Check out the awesome
album art. Courtesy Mercury Records.

Musicians come out with a new album that is completely different from what fans expect, and all hell breaks loose. The musicians explain that it is simply their way of growing as artists. Finding new sounds, new ways of expression. All the while, fans are not afraid to unleash battle cries of betrayal.

This goes back to when Bob Dylan went electric, and more recently, when Iron & Wine traded in banjos and slide guitar for electric noise and horns.

Now it’s Noah and the Whale’s turn. NATW released their latest album, Last Night on Earth, on March 15, three years after their last, The First Days of Spring (2009). From the very beginning, it appears to be a vast departure from their earlier work. Gone are the violin-driven, acoustic indie-folk ballads they were known for. Instead, we’re given layers upon layers of synth, drum machines and…a gospel choir. Sounds like a bad 80s album.

But trust me, it’s good.

The record clocks in at just over 33 minutes, but it’s half an hour of pure bliss packed with eclectic beats, melodies and beautiful music. It’s teeming with poetic references to Bukowski, while paying homage to the godfather of punk, Lou Reed. There are also undertones of Leonard Cohen thrown in the mix as well.

All in all, Last Night on Earth is the perfect next step in the evolution of NATW. While it outwardly seems like everything has changed, a lot stays the same. It retains elements NATW fans love. There are a couple songs featuring violin and those catchy guitar riffs. In fact, most of the songs are quite similar to their predecessors and could have easily appeared on their other albums.

The first single, “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.,” has energy unlike anything else they’ve done. The next single, “Wild Thing,” feels like classic NATW with a hint of electricity.

Get a copy today! It’s only $7.99 in the iTunes Store. In the meantime, enjoy this video.

http://vimeo.com/20328782