MSTRKRFT – The Looks (2006): Review


Produced by MSTRKRFT
Label – Last Gang Records

Everybody knows that Death From Above 1979 broke up way to soon, and their passing is mourned by many a fan who feels that the post Punk duo failed to achieve the potential that their debut hinted towards. It’s probable that the generic direction the music was heading for certainly didn’t suit one half, and bass player Jesse Keeler broke away to form dance act MSTRKRFT, along with Toronto producer Al-P. A courageous decision in light of the fact that DFA1979 were earning kudos points from not only fans and critics, but other artists too. It seems like Keeler couldn’t hide his love for 80’s electro disco and building his repertoire by remixing other artists work, went on to launch a full length long player (“The Looks”) to North American audiences during the middle of 2006. It’s finally reached the UK, and many will be familiar by virtue of a couple of popular re-works of tracks from Wolfmother and Bloc Party. So has the delay for UK audiences been worth the wait? Well…frankly no. The post Moroder electro rhythms, the 80’s retro groove, the blippy synths and vocoder vocals aren’t new, as they’ve been well covered by Daft Punk for the last decade and this collection reminds one of Eiffel 65 who currently reside in the “Where Are They Now?” file.


The songs undoubtedly work satisfactorily on the dancefloor, which is, after all what they were created for, but DJ’s don’t play complete albums by a single artist and for that reason the album is a tedious repetition of the same theme. The incessant vocoder lyrics become an annoying distraction from the programmed, stereotypical rhythms that seem to pull directly from “Homework” and “Discovery”. There’s so little that’s either new or refreshing here, and it’s highlighted by monotonously monotone words as the computers belch “work on you” or “make you move” for what seems like an eternity. There’s a suggestion that “The Looks” works more successfully in a segued “mix tape” format, which probably gives the album extra mileage, but if that’s the case then surely one would be better off just downloading odd tracks, or better still, wait until Keeler pulls out some new remixes, which for this reviewer sounds like a much more entertaining prospect.

“The Looks” seldom rises above providing shallow reflections of dance music of the last 10 years and one’s over riding impression is that MSTRKRFT would like very much to be Daft Punk.


Track Listing
1.”Work on You” – 6:02
2.”Easy Love” – 5:32
3.”She’s Good for Business” – 5:04
4.”Paris” – 5:47
5.”The Looks” – 4:56
6.”Street Justice” – 6:52
7.”Bodywork” – 5:52
8.”Neon Knights” – 5:46

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