Electro pioneers and prolific remixers put other bands to one side to create a MSTRpiece of their own
What do Wolfmother, The Gossip, Metric and Bloc Party have in common? They’ve all been remixed by electro insurgents MSTRKRFT, aka ex-Death From Above 1979 bassist (Jesse F Keeler) and producer (Al-P). The Canadian terrible twosome have made quite a name for themselves rejigging, and in some cases improving, most of indie’s latest tuneage. But how good are they at creating from a blank canvas?
Judging by debut full-length ‘The Looks’, pretty damn good, thank you very much. Opening salvo ‘Work On You’ and ‘Easy Love’ both come packaged into Break In Case Of Emergency boxes for DJ booths, crammed as they are with handclap and vocoder goodness, and they establish this album as a cut above your meat-and-veg dance record. Poaching multifarious links from dance music’s evolutionary chain, MSTRKRFT grind the good-time sounds of Marshall Jefferson-era Chicago house with harder Detroit techno, and use much of the rest of the album to stretch their ideas out. Check ‘Street Justice’, which waits until well over halfway through before delivering the killer guitar hook we’ve been building up to – a weird synthesized wail that sounds, as does much of the album, like early Daft Punk. Elsewhere, ‘She’s Good For Business’ judders all over the place – bass-heavy grunts chasing high-pitched squeals round the sound desk while those trademark soundclaps keep time. Like everything on offer: frankly lethal if you had the misfortune of hearing it post-midnight.
So, as Prince (who’s probably grinding to this in a remote castle right now) once almost said, “They got the looks.”