Album Reviews

MSTRKRFT – The Looks

(Modular) UK release date: 26 February 2007


Enjoying the company of MSTRKRFT’s first album is much like being introduced to an interesting character at a friend of a friend’s get-together.

All around you there are like-minded souls – some kindred spirits perhaps – amongst carefree chatter and positive vibes. As the conversation draws on, you warm to their taste in jaunty electro, 80s references and knowledge of techno and rock.

The most important thing, is that you enjoy this company, no matter what illusions you have had about their facets – namely that they inevitably remind you so much of Daft Punk, that you eye them with more than an inquisition of suspicion.

For a moment, it does at least make you consider how influential, and ahead of its time the latter’s Homework was when released 10-years ago. Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo are the cool older kids at these parties, popping their heads round the door every once in a while. Let’s be clear though, this one is MSTRKRFT’s party.

MSTRKRFT were forged after recording Death From Above 1979’s one and only monster of an album when bassist Jesse F Keeler (or JFK as he prefers) got together with his producer Al-P after hours.

Their remixes of the likes of Bloc Party, Annie and Metric perked up everybody from clubbing mags to the rock press. When DFA 1979 officially called it quits in summer 2006, MSTRKRFT was already a fully fledged project and The Looks was already out stateside.

The Looks tops off MSTRKRFT’s remix endeavours by body-slamming a messy party into eight cuts. In line with the particular oeuvre to mash up everything they see and hear, so we find on Street Justice classic rock married with electro and West Coast house.

You can’t say you’ve made an electro album these days without the presence of a vocoder or a synthesiser. Both are employed to outrageous excess for two of the album’s finest moments Work On You and Easy Love.

Paris is the one that got away from DFA 1979’s drawing board, oozing menace and depravity. Bodywork mixes the sounds of a videogame soundtrack from the 80s with ye olde vocoder, while Neon Knights takes an irresistable beat not dissimilar to Mr Oizo’s Flat Beat, scuzzed up to the max in the same mode as their mates Justice.

It’s by no means an album for all times, and can get too repetitive for its own good, but in the right place, at the right moment not much tops it. Positive vibes and good times, meet your new kindred spirits.


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More on MSTRKRFT
MSTRKRFT – Fist Of God
MSTRKRFT – The Looks
MSTRKRFT @ Turnmills, London