A Cross the Universe

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Designed to perpetuate their image as arena metal rock stars of the electro age, Justice's second release, A Cross the Universe, exposes the French duo's ability to whip a live audience to a frenzy by using a massive stack of Marshalls to amplify their laptops. The soundboard recording of their 2008 San Francisco performance, loaded with crowd noise, proves that you don't need a wealth of material, live instruments, or even microphones to put on an explosive show -- just an über-successful album with killer beats, a beast of a sound system, and a venue packed with people who like to D.A.N.C.E. Capitalizing on the critical and commercial acclaim of their debut, Cross, Gaspard and Xavier's set is almost completely made up of material from their 2007 release, and the only tracks left off the bill are "Newjack" and "Valentine." While this may sound like it's merely Cross with additional background screams, it's far from anything that conventional. Here, the pre-recorded sequences of fan favorites "DVNO," "Tthhee Ppaarrttyy," and "D.A.N.C.E." are born again, flipped and redecorated with aggressive house beats to the point that they feel fresh, but they still retain enough familiarity to get fists pumping and mouths singing along. Moods are brought to a peak as the parts build frenetically into strobe-like pulses, then die down into relieving ballads. In the show's climax, "Stress" raises blood pressure until ultimately releasing into a slow-swaying, lighter-provoking power ballad remix of Simian's "Never Be Alone (We Are Your Friends)." For an ensuing encore, two other remixes are unveiled: a chopped-up Soulwax track, "NY Excuse"; and "Justice X," a blistering mashup that blends "Tthhee Ppaarrttyy" with Metallica's "Master of Puppets." [The true draw of the package is the accompanying DVD, an hourlong documentary that chronicles a three-week tour in the States. Live footage is included, but rather than focusing closely on Justice as they perform on-stage, the footage is edited in a hurried pacing that matches the shutter-speed stutter of their songs. While you never get a definite sense of what makes these cool kids in leather tick, or any real insight to their musical process, you do catch a backstage glance at their mysterious offstage personas. Bad-boy debauchery and rock & roll excess are the cornerstones of their existence, it seems -- one member breaks a bottle over an overzealous fan's head, and the other gets married in Vegas with a whiskey bottle in hand, for starters -- but the most intriguing part of the viewing experience is just how huge and passionate their crowds have become in such a short span of time.]

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
blue highlight denotes track pick