The title of MSTRKRFT’s latest, Fist of God, represents a dichotomy of sorts — either the Canadian electronic duo found inspiration in Saddam Hussein’s fictional secret weapon of the same name, or the group invoked the Lord above to intervene in the crafting of its second album of entirely original material. But this album was far from divinely inspired, and if MSTRKRFT’s Fist of God was indeed a WMD, it wouldn’t even wake you from your sleep.
Fist of God, in a word, is a laborious listen, sinking leagues beneath the remix work band members Jesse F. Keeler — formerly of dance punk duo Death From Above 1979 — and producer Al-P made their names crafting. In the past, bands like indie outfit Metric and rockers Wolfmother, whose remix of “Woman” made it onto French label Kitsune Music’s uber-popular yearly compilation, Kitsune Maison, have even commissioned remixes from the duo.
While this album certainly won’t put MSTRKRFT out of business, it won’t do much to help the duo’s reputation. From the get-go, Fist of God offers nothing special with “It Ain’t Love,” featuring Lil Mo. Although the Pro Tools-generated bass line is moderately up-tempo, something about the track drags, making it a poor choice for an opening track. And follow up, “1000 Cigarettes,” isn’t much better.
Fist of God, though, picks up the pace with the call-and-response-esque track, “Bounce,” featuring Nore and Isis, eerily channeling the hook from electro house competitor Justice’s “Genesis.” Still, regardless of this and MSTRKRFT’s claim the album is original material only, “Bounce” — along with “Click Click” and the Ghostface Killah-featured “Word Up” — is one of the more successful tracks on this album.
But the most enjoyable track comes with the most surprising guest artist, John Legend. “Heartbreaker,” with its hint of disco and synthesized piano, is undeniably catchy, and Legend’s voice practically oozes sex as he sings in the chorus: “You’re in my mind, you’re in my heart/ I wish I knew, right from the start/ All my friends say, you’d break my heart/ A heartbreaker, right from the start.”
While it’s certainly not all downhill after “Heartbreaker,” listeners will find themselves with some middle-of-the-road material near Fist of God‘s end. The duo’s title track is certainly nothing to brag about, though it would make for decent mash-up material. Similarly, tracks like “So Deep” and “Breakaway” would best be erased from memory. Fortunately, they’re that forgettable.
Fist of God is a baffling album, from its title down to the questionable reason behind its creation. If MSTRKRFT wants to truly “master its craft,” then it would do best to stick to remixes.
2 1/2 stars out of 5.