The new MSTRKRFT album is a bit of an odd one and it isn't particularly easy to explain why.
Around the time that Justice unleashed their début album Cross MSTRKRFT were also releasing their début The Looks. One artist went on to becoming a bit of a cross-over phenomenon whilst the other played it much cooler. At the end of the day however The Looks still got plenty of attention from the bloggers and, now that the Justice backlash has officially begun (check Krissi Murison's review of Peter, Bjorn & John over at the Guardian), MSTRKRFT's first album still gets praise heaped on it.
Fist of God is another crack at mainstream success and MSTRKRFT are going all out - check the guest spots from rappers N.O.R.E. and Ghostface Killah - and, seemingly as a result many have been turned off, giving this album a hard time.
It's understandable insofar as Fist of God is very different - it's a much louder album, drawing on the rock band leanings of Justice and Jesse F Keeler's former heavy metal project Death From Above 1979. The use of vocals is also a departure - the first album may have had a few vocal snippets but it was far from lead by them, Fist of God on the other hand has more vocal tracks than instrumentals and they are very hip-hop and R'n'B influenced.
The result does admittedly have a pop music feel but there are still some nice moments - the old skool rave transition into 'Breakaway' from 'Word Up' and the rough intro of opener 'It Ain't Love'. What really stumps BlackPlastic though is the people that hold The Looks up as a masterpiece only to shit on this.
Both MSTRKRFT albums are enjoyable but neither could honestly be considered great (certainly not on a par with either Justice's début nor DFA 1979's sole album). The Looks lacked polish and ideas whilst Fist of God has both in spades in places but then lacks variety (and 'Word Up' featuring Ghostface Killah is quite quite horrible).
So Fist of God is worth checking out, yes. As good as The Looks? Probably. Brilliant? Sadly not.
Available on Amazon.co.uk on CD