The Toronto music media loves to tout its own, and while the effusive praise was warranted in the cases of Broken Social Scene, Metric, and many others, one still has to remain careful when reading the latest hype from across Lake Ontario. MSTRKRFT is a good example; created by former Death From Above 1979 bassist Jesse Keeler and producer Al-P, the electronic duo quickly made a name for themselves remixing tracks by Bloc Party, Panthers, Wolfmother, and DFA 1979, generating a fair amount of good press, but on The Looks, they keep things relatively straight-laced, focusing on hefty vintage house beats, undulating synth lines, and plenty of vocoder-filtered vocals. It’s all well and good in small doses, as tracks like the simple yet effective “Easy Love”, “The Looks”, and the terrific, Le Tigre-esque “She’s Good For Business” are propulsive enough to hold our attention, and the album design by Seripop is fantastic as always, but the longer the album goes on (around the time “Bodywork” kicks in), the more tiresome the entire exercise sounds, and the more obvious the Daft Punk comparisons become. It all sounds too complacent, Keeler and Al-P lacking the tension that DFA 1979 often brilliantly exhibited.
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