Ed Banger Records
As far as live shows go, Justice is just one of those acts that blows audiences away again and again. With an amazing body of work to pull from, the duo have always gone the extra mile to make their live mixes even more, which makes these cuts a new joy in their own right. Remixes, mash-ups, and totally new arrangements in some cases, this is a beast of a recording and doesn’t bother you with any poor or cheer-drowned live audio. As much Live At Leeds as it is Alive 2007, Justice prove there’s still room for live records if the artist has imagination and can refine themselves into something completely new.
By really spreading out the build on “Safe and Sound,” Justice give a nice thematic opening to the record while highlighting all the track’s best bass, synths and vocals with a new kind of wonder. As each new section and electronic addition builds on the original track, we also see their mastery of mixing slowly move us through their track list to make every track change seamless. “D.A.N.C.E.” comes in with a much more tense energy this time around just to make its drop all the more heavenly, while letting them weave in different themes from Woman. As “Canon x Love S.O.S.” hits its stride instantaneously there’s a frantic energy in the mix. Though this track does lack some of the more overt pop hooks of other tracks, it uses the album’s heavy rotation of hits to remix some of its elements together.
Though it lacks some of the inherently epic grandeur of hearing it blasted out of a live PA system, “Genesis x Phantom” is still as triumphant as ever, if anything only suffering on a recorded version from how little it strays from the source material. The album as a whole truly takes off however on “Pleasure x Newjack x Civilization” where Justice not only reinterpret their song in EDM but transform it into something even more theatrical. As grimy as the stomps are, things slide right into “Heavy Metal x DVNO” sublimely before their weird DJ techniques grind it to a halt and speed it right back up. All the cross-breeding with their other hits only improves the track, as Justice prove the power of their live act.
Even “Stress” feels like a natural shift in tone, while they add so many spooky highlights to its breaks that you’ll be surprised how well it fits the song’s generally malevolent tone. Without any of the record’s usual mash-ups, “Love S.O.S.” comes roaring back on its own with not only some fun filters but entirely new arrangements and a revitalized energy. It’s these little touches that really make the album more fun on repeat listens than simply listening through a personal mix of the song’s Justice is playing. “Alakazam! x Fire” is a more subversive mash-up however that puts each element of its core songs into new spaces for something that gets you grooving and thinking at the same time.
So much raw energy is coming out of “Waters Of Nazareth x We Are Your Friends x Phantom II” that you can tell just how much fun Justice had producing it. Even after such an exciting intro, the flow into the mighty chorus cries are goose bump inducing and the drops are just that much more addictive because of it.”Chorus goes even more ballistic than on record, with a heightened tempo and one of the duo’s more unhinged mixes of synths in years. Just as “Audio, Video, Disco” falls into their ambient tones, the oppressive bass takes over to bring a weight that will blow you away before Justice explores every end of the song.
While it’s easy to forget just how many great moments Justice brought to Woman, “Stop” does feel a little strange as a virtually untouched piece from the record. It’s little touches like the intro to songs like “Randy” and its really intense EDM changes that really freshen things up enough to make you appreciate the breather the regular song offers, even through the many call-backs they use to close out their live set. “D.A.N.C.E. x Safe and Sound x Fire” of course returns as the loud and proud encore in this respect, closing things out in a frenzy of amazing songs somehow made better by their masters again.
Words by Owen Maxwell