Under Review

MSTRKRFT

The Looks

Last Gang

Review By Quinn Omori


MSTRKRFT seemed to come out of nowhere. Sure, Jesse Keeler is fairly well known as the bass slinger in Death from Above 1979, but who saw this coming? The duo (consisting of Keeler and Al-P) first threw themselves into music lovers’ collective consciousness with a remix of Keeler’s other gig. Their retouch of “Little Girl” took Jesse’s proto-metal riffage to a place that was far more rhythmic, while partner-in-crime Sebastian Grainger saw his 4/4 drums replaced with cowbell and compressed high hat.  Then, all of a sudden, MSTRKRFT were everywhere and in demand.
Jesse and Al’s seemingly magic touch has since graced singles by Annie, Metric, Panthers, Services, Polysics, The Gossip, and most notably, Bloc Party, turning even the most languid single into your favourite DJ’s new best friend. The latter band was fortunate enough to have their sleep-inducing one-off, “Two More Years,” transformed from glorified Silent Alarm b-side status to a positively thrilling dance floor filler. All the attention spawned a wave of hype that threatened to drown MSTRKFRT’s full-length debut, but they manage to keep things above water.
The first single, “Easy Love,” opens with a keyboard line that’s so smooth it almost slithers out of the speakers. “She’s Good for Business” is all bass pulses and handclaps behind a multi-tracked, female-sung mantra of “I gotta shake it.” If the world were full of hipster dive bars, it would be a sure shot anthem. Opener, “Work on You,” is exactly what the latest Daft Punk album should’ve sounded like. The Looks is littered with similar ventures: songs that will remind of you of other artists, all executed incredibly well. Justice, Simian, and “Chicago House” all come to mind, while slinky bass lines, old-school synths, and plenty of well-worn vocoder are painted all over the disc’s eight tracks. Don’t let the borrowed sounds dissuade you from picking this one up though; they’re taking cues from some impressive forbear’s. Though they aren’t doing anything wholly original, they’re sure goddamn good at playing with the familiar.
While it’s nothing revolutionary, it’s sure to make you shake your ass, and what more do you want from a dance record?