Album Review: MSTRKRFT – Fist of God

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After a three year pause, Toronto’s hypnotic techno/rave/dance party sensation MSTRKRFT has finally returned! Back in 2006, when the snazzy duo properly fatigued our bodies back with The Looks, it was hard to imagine these electro rockers capable of creating music that could make our little hearts skip even faster than before, but Fist of God goes to show that we were all very, very wrong in our assumptions. Run almost entirely by a pounding 4X4 rhythm, Fist of God is full of both quirky and generic synth effects that’ll get you on your feet faster than you can read this sentence.

At first, MSTRKRFT seemed to pick up right where Daft Punk left off and alternatively set the stage for other successful groups such as J.U.S.T.I.C.E. and Chromeo, especially considering their inclusion of a bleating robotic voice set over those catchy and hopelessly danceable distorted electronic segments they loop over. However, this time around, these two dudes decided to go for a bolder approach completely booting the standby robot voice and replacing it with an assortment of R&B and hip-hop artists including Lil Mo, Ghostface Killah, N.O.R.E. and John Legend. The result is a combo of old-school melodies and post-mod dissonance that invokes nostalgia while remembering to sound original and of course never forgetting its booming electronic roots.

Starting off hard with “It Ain’t Love”, we’re first introduced to Lil Mo’s pleasing digitized vocals cast over an incessant electro jam, only to be slammed directly into “1000 Cigarettes”’s catchy 3-note synth melody and tapping background bucket noise. Later on, we’re thrown the unpronounceable “Vuvuvu” (possibly meant to sound like a race car whizzing by) with its speedy high-hat and swishy futuristic synth back beat. Next up, is piano friendly “Heartbreaker”, by far the albums slowest track, which is both soothing and toe-tapping good.

Highlighting Fist of God is unsurprisingly the title track, falling midway on the album and proving to be one of its better numbers. With a pulsating beat and scratchy, looped vocals “Fist of God” will have you dancing ‘till you drop and might even force you to drop it while it’s hot. It’s all relative, really.

Like most albums these days, Fist of God has a few weak points such as the poppy number “So Deep” featuring Jahmal of the Carps which unfortunately sounds like a remix of any Panic at the Disco song and the next cliché club song “Bounce”, with it’s clingy and annoying rap melody. Another iffy track is the extremely repetitive “Word Up” featuring the infamous Ghostface Killah repeating some of the dumbest lyrics I’ve heard in a long time, “It’s all in your f**kin/do it hard”.

To be quite honest, Fist of God is a cliché electronic/dance house record that’ll be perfect for the clubs downtown, but really won’t stand the test of time. For MSTRKRFT it’s a ballsy record, but it still doesn’t top the sensational The Looks from a few years back. Now, if you’re just looking for a good time, Fist of God will give you just that. However, there’s no substance or character to this album. As harsh as it may sound, Fist of God ultimately just falls amongst the many other electro records out there right now. Sure it’s catchy and definitely danceable, but it lacks any individuality from therein and should thus, only be taken at face value.

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