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Album review: ‘Woman’ finds Justice heading down the retro rabbit hole

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Two and a half stars

Justice Woman

French duo Justice was of the moment, both its debut Cross and its electro/house label Ed Banger having ruled Beauty Bars across the nation in 2007-’08.

Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay expertly merged their disco impulses with their rock origins (hence the Marshall stacks and Metallica covers), but they took things in a proggier direction on 2011’s Audio, Video, Disco, and to a greater extent on Woman. If the former was merely a swan dive from Cross, the latter sees the twosome plummeting down the retro rabbit hole.

The synth fantasias and excelsior choruses of “Safe and Sound” and “Stop” add dimension but thwart the grooves—good for headphones, bad for dancefloors. Focus serves Justice best, as evidenced on the rolling, whooshing “Alakazam!” and catchy, chiming single “Randy.” That said, the latter song too closely recalls funk-pop repackagers Chromeo, just as Woman’s progressive forays resemble the same evolutionary cul-de-sac suffered by fellow Parisian twosome Air, which, like Justice, has yet to transcend its early breakthrough.

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