No band ever completely dies. Whenever a band breaks up or a frontman expires, you can count on at least one new band to rise from the ashes a year or so later.
So when Death from Above 1979 broke up awhile ago, it was only inevitable that something like MSTRKRFT would show up sooner or later. I have no idea what the name means, but I know what their debut "The Looks" is full of -- Daft Punk-style dance music, as done by robots.
It opens with the funky, blippy rhythms of "Work on You," which slithers around computerized beats and solid drum machines. But what makes it stand out is the robotic voice repeating, "I'm gonna make you mine... I'm gonna make you mine..." It's a bit like being ravished by HAL.
That same sound continues in the discoey and rather repetitive "Easy Love." Fortunately the sound changes dramatically with "She's Good For Business," with the girl's vocals and the hard beats, followed by the fuzz-rocky "Paris."
The beat continues through the rather repetitive "Looks," which is a good dancepunky song, but is dwarfed by the vaguely hip-hoppish "Street Justice." This short album rounds off with the swirling beats of "Bodywork," and the kitschy-futuristic "Neon Knights."
If MSTRKRFT has a flaw, it's a simple one -- all the songs follow the same formula, and they rarely stray from it. After a little while, I started to wish that they would try out something different, just to vary their sound a little.
But I have to admit, they have a knack with some dancey beats. There's a retro dance flavour to their music, and the rigid confines and slightly nuts feeling add to its appeal. And they do vary the formula a little, with swirly beats and retro-disco experimentation.
There aren't much in the way of lyrics, except for repeated lines like "Look... look..." and "Another killin' on the dance floor," which generally appear a few thousand times per song. But then, the vocals aren't about singing -- they're used like another set of beats, to accentuate the music.
MSTRKRFT's debut is relatively unmemorable, but very promising. Sort of Daft Punk's crazier little sibling, "The Looks" is a nice intro to their music -- here's hoping they mix it up a little more.