MSTRKRFT / Fist of God (Dim Mak/Downtown)


The long awaited follow-up to the Montreal duo’s 2006 debut literally delivers until it hurts. That’s more good than bad, and guests like Ghostface Killah, John Legend and E-40 contribute significant weirdness to one of the most riff-intensive discs of the decade.

On first listen, the new MSTRKRFT sounds similar to their debut, The Looks, but playing the two back-to-back reveals striking differences. The Looks feels like Midnight Star updated for the Paris set, and any riff explosions culminate from a slow buildup. Fist is crazed, all explosions all the time, even when John Legend and Little Moe are trying to sing about heartbreak overtop. (Moe kills it, by the way. Legend, not so much.) Fist’s quick, continuously sequenced bangers bleed into each other so seamlessly that you’ll mistake a new song for a chord change multiple times. (It doesn’t help that these cuts mostly consist of the same two noises: a spastic drum kit and the trademark MSTRKRFT hybrid bass-guitar-synth that even casual fans associate with them.) That said, Fist of God is 95-percent savage, as evidenced by Ghostface Killah’s rap on “Word Up”: “It’s all in your fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking / Do it hard.” Apparently God’s fist isn’t the only thing giving a pounding.

Christian W. Smith
File under: Mr. Oizo, L.A. Riots, Justice