“I think these guys are the new rock & roll,” a pierced Justice fan notes early on in the video-documentary portion of this DVD/CD package. He’s obviously on to something. The French duo of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay has made dance music as dangerous, sexy and youth-oriented as Elvis once made the twist. If Daft Punk is France’s greatest dance export since Cerrone, Justice is the royally hip little indie brother to those robot rockers.
The Parisian team took sampling and rock dynamics to an extreme, addictive conclusion on its 2007 album † (or Cross)—a pummeling but hook-laden electronic album that showed flashes of moody artiness amid fist-pumping, circuit-fried jams. Like Daft Punk, the band has issued a live album at the peak of its buzz.
Capturing a set in San Francisco, A Cross the Universe grinds, stops, starts, simmers and explodes like the soundtrack to a great medieval epic. It’s nothing like a DJ set, as the duo continually revises and sometimes completely reworks its material. “Stress” is both haunting and cute, sampling nu-rave brothers the Klaxons before morphing into another version of Justice’s trademark “We Are Your Friends.”
For a tour doc, Romain Gavras’s thrilling companion film has a heck of a lot of verve. There are guns, hand-standing guys in leotards, massive cheeseburgers, farting during interviews and drunken high jinks galore. Things break down on the West Coast when groupies, cops and bad sound systems come to a head—there’s even some blood spilled. And the band and manager end up in handcuffs. The White Stripes wear embroidered hats and go to bed in hotels, not the clink. Now, who’s more rock & roll?
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