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Justice: Hyperdrama Album Evaluation | Pitchfork

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Incongruous mash-ups, just like the disco vamps and grueling techno of their 2007 single “Stress,” have been half and parcel of Justice’s music from the start, however on Hyperdrama, digital/analog hybrids—like Daft Punk’s Random Entry Recollections, or, certainly, a gleaming, futuristic vape pen—assume subtler varieties. In “Generator,” the duo offsets the apocalyptic “Mentasm” stabs and pumping piano-house chords with sprightly disco bass, as if flickering between Fantazia and Studio 54. It’s a novel juxtaposition, and assuredly executed, although one thing about its “Hey! You bought chocolate in my peanut butter!” setup feels barely too intelligent, higher suited to a artistic director’s temper board than the messiness of an precise dancefloor.

“Afterimage” performs an identical bait-and-switch, balancing doomy techno synths with the breathy rapture of visitor singer Rimon’s ecstatic sighs, however the distinction isn’t fairly provocative sufficient to avoid wasting the track’s expression of bliss from sounding generic. It doesn’t assist that many of the visitor singers Justice make use of right here—Parker, Rimon, Miguel, Thundercat, and Manchester electro-pop duo the Flints—choose for the same falsetto vary, making all of them sound interchangeable. The coNFLict of the totems is extra fascinating on “Moonlight Rendez-Vous,” a two-minute sketch that poses an uncommon thought experiment: What if Wham!’s “Careless Whispers” had been recorded within the type of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack?

The album’s greatest tracks are probably the most audacious: the unbridled pleasure of “Expensive Alan,” a veritable fireworks show of pinwheeling arps and halo results; the over-the-top prog-disco fusion of “Incognito,” which builds to a distorted climax harking back to Justice’s rebellious early hijinks, now rendered in state-of-the-art hi-def. However an excessive amount of of it is just too easy—ploddingly mid-tempo, curiously threat averse. 9 songs right into a 13-track run, “Explorer” bogs down in a morass of Phantom of the Opera synths; “Muscle Reminiscence,” which follows, might have been an opportunity to indicate off their analog chops, however as a substitute it looks like a Stranger Issues retread—a synthwave set piece that’s been finished many occasions earlier than.

Justice don’t name their visitor performers options; as a substitute, the singers are credited with “starring” roles. A minor element, maybe, however one which speaks to the duo’s goals. Like Daft Punk, they’ve all the time understood the facility of a robust visible, and people “starring” credit recommend they’re considering of Hyperdrama by way of spectacle—if not a film, then a headlining comPetition slot. At Coachella this month, the duo stood inventory nonetheless and let their gentle present do many of the work, whereas the disembodied voice of Kevin Parker looped right into a crescendoing approximation of the sort of techno that’s solely fleetingly audible inside Hyperdrama’s fastidiously tended grounds.

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