MSTRKRFT: Operator review – rowdy dance duo's wince-inducing return

(Last Gang)

Ah, the heady days of mid-2000s dance music, for which enough time has now passed to officially allow for nostalgia, especially as French electro-house duo Justice and their rowdier Canadian cousins, MSTRKRFT, have returned. Its anthems were maximal, lacerated by heavy metal and bruising synths, but as contagious as a moshpit. On their first album in seven years, the duo of Jesse F Keeler (also of dance-punks Death from Above 1979) and AL-P appear to want to bludgeon these memories out of focus. Their sound has gone turbo-cacophonous, eschewing their earlier disco-licked or hip-hop swaggering style (on 2006’s excellent debut The Looks and 2009 followup Fist of God, respectively) and instead taking a chainsaw to Detroit techno’s 808s. There’s a glimmer of what could have been on Runaway, its whirring wooze like a motorbike riding its front wheel deliriously along inky tarmac, driven by a “doo-doo-doo” pop hook. By comparison, the rest – wince-inducing dental polisher sounds on Little Red Hen, raging, tuneless hardcore punk-rave (Go On Without Me), shrill horror-synths (Death in the Gulf Stream) – is crude apocalyptic noise made to go with a light show rather than for listening to.


Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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