Justice - Live and Learn (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Live and Learn (2008)


No no, this is the Justice from Europe.

Oh, wait.

Okay, so this is the hardcore Justice from Belgium, not the French dance act. Apparently this is their final release, a five-song EP titled Live and Learn. I could never really get into their past releases, but after giving a thorough listen to their farewell piece, I sorta get them now. Plus this just seems to more accurately acknowledge what they're going for while coming off less cheesy.

Justice take nods directly from an era when hardcore was beginning to progress in weird ways -- when bands like Supertouch and Quicksand were reigning supreme. Yep, the early, early `90s, and probably Revelation Records for that matter. I mean, fuck, if you don't think Justice's members wished they grew up in the States alongside Ray Cappo and Walter Schriefels, then maybe the double-edged line "I wish I could turn back time" ("What Have We Become") will confirm it.

The music on Live and Learn digs deep with dirty, raw dirges of power and restraint. Instead of Mark Ryan's (Supertouch) apathetic, disaffected delivery, Justice is fronted here by vocalist Filip, who sings with a relaxed but somehow lively tone, full of grit and gravel. Maybe in "Meaningless" he seems to really reference Ryan's style, though; he often sings slow and unsurely in the verses, and then hollers in the chorus with an emotional resonance, repeating "alone" in an incredibly distraught manner.

Filip's introspective lyrics really give the record a good finish. He has a poetic charm that's unusual among his peers, and it's refreshing.

In no way does Live and Learn sound like it could've come out in the 21st century, but that's kinda part of its charm. Fortunately, Live and Learn is an overall good release, and not just because of its anachronistic core.

A Quiet Pain