It’s been a long time between drinks for French nu-disco producers Justice, who last gave us ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ back in 2001. Today, Annie Mac aired the group’s new track ‘Safe and Sound‘ on BBC Radio 1 and – as it says on the can – it’s fucking fantastic.
Justice first grabbed my attention as a pimply 19 year old with their futuristic debut album † (‘Crosses‘). Tracks like ‘Genesis‘, ‘D.A.N.C.E‘ and ‘Waters of Nazareth‘ leveraged on the popularity of happy-go-lucky and super melodic French electro and disco. But the group flipped it on its head by filtering it through dirty electric guitars, stadium rock and dark moments that were equally absurd and epic (i.e the intro to Genesis).
It was danceable, progressive and unafraid of breaking rules. As a result, Justice and their Ed Banger records counterparts had certainly won over loyal fans in my group of mates and are still today a beacon of nostalgia for those carefree times (when none of us had a full time job). This at least sets some context to my personal excitement to news of the Annie Mac premiere.
From kick-off, ‘Safe and Sound‘ doesn’t disappoint. It opens with 80’s inspired sweeping synth pads that state clearly that they won’t be guided by today’s technology and saturated ‘deep house’ music landscape.
The statement is solidified as a choir builds to a 70’s inspired funk bass line and dramatic strings. From here the song grooves through Bee Gee‘s meets Midnight Juggernauts type motions with hues of 80’s pop, 90’s rock and, of course, disco. It’s a genre bending collage filled with layers and throwbacks.
Sure, the dial has been turned down slightly. There’s far less aggression and angst in ‘Safe and Sound’ compared to their early stuff, but that doesn’t mean it has any less attitude.
Overall, it’s dark, different, funky and danceable. It’s everything we love about the groups unpredictability and rule breaking. Très bien!