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By Alex Wood on 14.10.2023

Prospective: MSTRKRFT

Recently there was a retrospective article inviting InQuire readers to open their ears to the sound of Django Reinhardt, a brilliant but unmistakably old sound. Here, at the other end of the scale, is a look at an Electro duo from Toronto who have released a brand new album this very year.

Founded in 2005 by members Alex Puodziukas, or Al P for short, and Jesse Keeler, MSTRKRFT (pronounced MasterKraft) have continuously produced hard-hitting, and for the most part relentlessly unflinching, Electro tracks over two studio albums, several singles and a galaxy of remixes for big names such as Justice, Wolfmother and Bloc Party. The duo’s first album, ‘The Looks’, released in 2006, is an upbeat and, compared to the later album, much simpler set of tracks. This is manifested in the way the tracks build in a routine pattern whereby the beat comes first then the rhythm followed by a synth melody. Despite the album’s simplicity, it is extremely easy to dance to and definitely likeable, however, it can become repetitive with some tracks sounding too similar to one another. Perhaps this is a result of hurried production, as the band had only been together for a year before the release.

Despite the faults of the debut album, it was enough to secure a host of celebrity cameos for the second. ‘Fist of God’ came out March of this year to mixed critical reviews, however, since it’s appearance, the general reception of the album has warmed up, scoring an 8/10 from NME and 7/10 from Rolling Stone. ‘Fist of God’ contrasts with its predecessor in a number of ways, for example, the wide use of vocals, with or without effects, that spreads throughout the album. Another largely notable difference is the complexity of the tracks, beats evolve and deform then reform, synth guitar sounds and dirty bass are layered generously on top of each other. All of the tracks are joined from beginning to end, creating the feel of one massive mix; much like Daft Punk’s 2007 masterpiece live album, ‘Alive’. An attempt to define the two releases from each other might sound like this: where ‘The Looks’ set out to make people dance and nod their heads, ‘Fist of God’ set out to make people die of raw electric shock. Perhaps that’s a touch harsh but if one listens to the album, especially tracks like Fist of God and It Ain’t Love, it would all become clear. Though the album definitely packs a punch, there are occasional breaks for a more gentle sound and there is no better example of this than Heartbreaker featuring vocals and a mournful piano loop from John Legend.

If you are having a wine and cheese party or a book club social, MSTRKRFT probably isn’t what you would want to play, unless you wanted a very short cheese party, but if you just want to dance and say, ‘to hell with the neighbours and my own aural health!’ these guys, beyond all reasonable doubt, know how to make it happen.

Comments

  • I f*cking love MSTRKRFT, I would fellate them both if they asked me to.

    By George Berry on 4.12.2023

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