o since it's terrifically uncool to explain why cool is supposedly cool—it's like analyzing a joke—and since it's further uncool and also wildly boring to read some nerdy writer's musings on same, we'll just go for broke and do it anyway, cool? Cool. Now when the '80's “came back” about two “years” ago, a crazy little thought occurred to your friendless, too-little-laid hack right here: the cool kids are generally about 18 to 22 years of age, right? They've picked up this current little “fash” subculture from “old school” MTV broadcasts and the Coreys. Their parents would have been young adults around the heyday of the sun-dappled, pastel, off-the-shoulder 1980's (“anni mirabili”). Hence, we can infer that our contemporaneous young adults, our children, our future, have been infected with some perverse reverence for their parents' cool.
You shouldn't need me to tell you why this is completely unacceptable. It's just like when my cohort were totally “grooving on” our parents' musty old hippy gear. It was unacceptable then, and it's just as unacceptable now, even if it does admittedly smell better. “Boomer” should be considered some sort of generation-war epithet at this point, but it isn't, which is fucking ridiculous.
MSTRKRFT are that one dude from DFA1979 and his friend DJ Cowabunga or whatever. They think the '80's are totally radical (not to be confused with “radical politics,” my initial, erroneous first guess). But it's not their fault. No, it's been foisted on them—subconsciously, via hypnosis—by their taste-making friends and associates, for instance those asshole-as-viable-lifestyle-choice assholes over at Vice. (For the record, it has been scientifically proven that we will run out of retro immediately after Flannel Redux: Winter '07.) So our “homeboys” cop every usable idea from the post-Moroder/pre-Underworld dance, acid house, and electro canon.
Well, more like three: your requisite 808 bass pulse, your ubiquitous “Axel F” synthesizer doodling, and your vocoders, everydamnwhere your vocoders. The Looks is like the Witness Protection Program of electronic disco, where they put the folks for whom the normal anonymity of dance DJ's is simply not enough. Either that, or it's where Roger Troutman went to die; it isn't your bouncy, “Believe” vocoder either, it's a flat, dessicated, pre-digital thing, so whether they're cooing about how they're going to “work on you,” or “make you move,” or “beat the pussy up,” or whatever they're saying, it always sounds like you programmed AppleTalk to croak lascivious things at you. Ew.
Their programming is tailored to fit, so it all sounds basically the same—the only difference between, say, “Work on You” and “She's Good for Business” is the “riot grrrrrrrrrrrrls” trying to invent some sort of latter-day don't-care Macarena on the latter. It's kind of a shame, since they've proven to be quite the ace remixers of the less-is-more variety—they even managed to make that Wolfmother song more than just palatable by adding little more than hand claps and a vocal stutter, but someone really should have told them that a full-length of just that would be pretty “boring.” Unless of course the idea was to make a bunch of 12” mixes for segues for when DJ Gnarly-As-Fuck is conscripted to spin at their manager's kid's Bar Mitzvah. In that case, it's pretty successful.
Reviewed by: Jeff Siegel
Reviewed on: 2006-08-02