Back in 2007, Gaspard Auge and Xavier De Rosnay blew the dance-minded blogosphere away with †, and it wasn’t long before this translated into critical praise and a cult following amongst the party-going crowd around the world. Their distorted synthesizers, chained to some of the most in-your-face beats I’d ever heard (i.e. ‘Waters of Nazareth’), proved an uncanny instant invitation to get up and go crazy, or at the very least leave your brain with a few bruises from all that head-banging.
Audio, Video, Disco is a completely different beast altogether, though. Even though it can be seen how this album is a logical step for the two French producers, I can’t help feeling that it might polarize listeners expecting the ridiculous Daft Punk-likening beats that they came to love on †. I mean, the duo even went on record as saying that they wanted to make a more laid back LP this time round: a “day time” album, as they said. The fact that I don’t see myself listening to this kind of music during the day though is the problem. The production style of the two French wunderkinds hasn’t changed in the fact that they sample their own instrumentation and love to distort almost anything to the point where I can’t really tell whether I’m listening to a ring-modulated guitar or an insanely processed synth, but what † had in spades along with all of the above was immediacy. Excluding the fabulous build-up intro on ‘Genesis’, † would keep you listening due to all the unexpected drops, bass slaps and beat cuts, while most of all remain engaging straight from the get-go. There was no way I was skipping a track like ‘Stress’ because of its immediately strange but catchy intro.
Where † was a dance record with the elements of heavy metal and rock sprinkled around it, Audio, Video, Disco is a heavy metal/rock record with dance beats sprinkled on top. I’ll come straight out and say it: I prefer the former. There are tracks on here that just plain have no staying power — I’ll listen to these tracks maybe once or twice to get a feel of the album, then there’s no chance they’re reaching my ears again. Prime examples include ‘Brianvision’, a three-minute guitar solo with the most simple drum line accompanying it. Now I’m all for guitar solos… if they’re interesting. That being said, it’s fair to point out that when listening through this album you’ll be getting a lot of electric guitar, essentially on every track bar tracks like ‘Civilization’ or ‘Audio, Video, Disco’ (where guitars are present but sparse), and if this isn’t to your liking in dance music, well tough.
Now I’m not saying this album has absolutely no merits. Highlights include the opener ‘Horsepower’, the already released but still mentionable ‘Civilization’, a crescendo epic ‘Canon’, possibly my favourite track ‘Hex’, and finally the title track ‘Audio, Video, Disco’. I never thought the title track was anything much but after three listens I (annoyingly) can’t get the fucking ridiculously simple chorus out of my head.
In short? A disappointing but logical sophomore album, with a few brilliant gems sprinkled throughout.