Release Date: Mar 17, 2009
Record label: Downtown
MSTRKRFT's debut album, The Looks, felt like it came from a 21-year-old who'd just discovered the party scene and was loving every moment. The sequel sounds like that same kid a couple of years down the road: jaded, hard-edged and painfully aware of the dark undercurrents behind the nightlife world. [rssbreak] All the glossy, synthetic sheen of their debut has been replaced by grinding distorted riffs, and the singing robot voices are supplanted by a rotating cast of guest vocalists mainly borrowed from R&B and hip-hop.
Review Summary: Holy Electro!In a way that makes my job easier, I can tell you that you’ve probably experienced the Fist Of God at least once before. And if you haven’t, you should – call it a right of passage if you will. Because see, Fist Of God is a hell of a party. And chances are you’ve been to this one.
At the beginning of "Click Click", guest E-40 says, "MSTRKRFT, what is it doe," dwarfed by a maelstrom of pulverizing riffs that seem to come with their own laser show. What it is, for E-40, turns out to be something of an endurance test: Even the limber-tongued rapper struggles to assert himself through the breakneck pace of MSTRKRFT's power chords. It's like listening to someone trying to rap in a lightning field.
Jesse Keeler and Al-P, the Toronto dance producers who comprise MSTRKRFT, are pessimistic about the future of electro, "now that the Black Eyed Peas are doing it". But if the genre is going to the dogs, these two are going to give it the most raucous send-off. Their second album is a guest-packed party record built from monster beats, churning synths and power chords, and if there's nothing here that Daft Punk haven't done before, it wins points for sheer muscular euphoria.
The difference in the basic sound of MSTRKRFT's first album, Looks, and the follow-up, Fist of God, isn't huge. Both are built around buzzing old-school synths, thunderous drums, and jumpy, floor-filling disco and robo-funk. It's the stuff they put on top that makes for the gulf in quality. Looks was based on a gimmick that could either tickle you or wear you down and have you wincing in pain by the end of the record -- namely, the vocoder that the duo of Al-P and Jesse F.
Dance music has never exactly been a fertile crescent of innovation. Sure, we’ve got our Daft Punks and, more recently, our Hercules & Love Affairs—bands that are just as concerned with being cerebral as they are with getting you to embarrass yourself on the floor—but when you’re dealing with a genre whose primary objective is to get people to (you guessed it) dance, only the best artists are going to be able to avoid losing step and staggering into a wall. MSTRKRFT are not one of those artists.