A Cross The Universe
‘I think these guys are the new rock ’n’ roll,’ a pierced Justice fan notes early on in the video-documentary portion of this DVD/CD package. He’s obviously on to something. French duo Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay have made dance music dangerous, sexy and youth-oriented. 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 their 2007 release † (or Cross) – a pummelling but hook-laden electronic album that showed flashes of moody artiness amid fist-pumping, circuit-fried jams. Like Daft Punk, the band have issued a live album at the peak of their 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 revise and sometimes completely rework their material. ‘Stress’ is both haunting and cute, sampling nu-rave brothers Klaxons before morphing into another version of Justice’s trademark track, ‘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 of the USA 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 jail. Now, who’s more rock ’n’ roll?
John Dugan. Available at www.amazon.com
Fall Out Boy
Folie À Deux
It opens with an obnoxious knock-off of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’, but album five from Wilmette’s emo poster boys leaves behind teenage wasteland in an awkward rush towards middle age. Here, adolescent men wearing hoodies, tats, hats and eyeliner drop references to Glengarry Glen Ross and Winona Ryder in numbing, over-baked tales of marital woes and jaded souls. Patrick Stump sums it up, singing, ‘I wanna quit this song and become an accountant.’
Of course, their heads already swim with dollar signs. Mouthpiece-cum-gossip-column doll Pete Wentz openly aims for his band to become the biggest on the planet, and Folie À Deux reeks of calculation, antiseptics and new cars. Guitars, harmonies and keyboards meld into a humming, uniform ooze. Considering Wentz’s role as the group’s public face and lyricist, his bass bizarrely disappears in the mix. Try to pick him out. Meanwhile, his pen continues to weep tenuous strings of puns. Call him Sid Vacuous.
The previous album, 2007’s guiltily exhilarating Infinity On High, opened with a song called ‘Thriller’, and the single from 2008’s placeholding ****: Live In Phoenix was a cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. Yet it’s this record that fully dons the sequined glove. Stump’s histrionic blue-eyed croon perfectly suits a foray into R&B grooves, but Fall Out Boy stubbornly cling to the big dumb din of amps in these deeply plodding midtempo numbers.
Stuck somewhere between Hall and Oates and Green Day, Folie suffers from indecisiveness – or market research. In trying to be everything to everyone, the king of ennui-mo proves it’s not quite ready for adulthood.
Brent DiCrescenzo. Available in stores