The French music scene may have seen a recent explosion in angular guitar bands (check out Les Teenagers), but there has been little challenge to Daft Punk’s crown as kings of Gallic dance. Now, we have genuine contenders to the throne. Justice take their predecessors’ knack for infectious electronica and cut it with a darker vein of schizophrenic blitz-pop.

Cross opens with, appropriately enough, “Genesis,” a foreboding guttural chime segueing into a dark pop masterpiece; chilling but effortlessly cool. “Stress” ups the ante with a beat that threatens to actually excavate your bowels… in a good way.

However, the album has its lighter moments, notably, the insidious children’s chant that drives the single “D.A.N.C.E.” and the cut up hip-hop that is “Newjack.” “Carpates,” meanwhile, is built on such a driving beat that it almost makes me want to jump on a treadmill. Almost.

Needless to say, there have been few albums released this year that I would regard as essential. With seven months gone, Justice tops the pile.

Edbangerrecords: www.edbangerrecords.com

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