MSTRKRFT – Operator

Album Review by Claire Francis | 06 Jul 2016
Album title: Operator
Label: Last Gang
Release date: 22 Jul

Pity that Operator, the comeback offering from Canadian electronic duo MSTRKRFT, doesn't sound more like its fifth track, the lasciviously titled Playing With Itself. Loaded with a sexually charged, distorted swagger, and overlaid with ghostly gospel vocal samples, the mid-album tune oozes the kind of depraved aesthetic that would make Nine Inch Nails proud. It's one of Operator's most interesting moments, and a promising line of enquiry for MSTRKRFT's hardcore-spiked dance music.

However, it's the frenetic Little Red Hen and the brutish Party Line that have been released as lead singles. With the exception of Playing With Itself, and perhaps the moody Morning Of The Hunt, Operator is characterised by these throbbing, industrial tracks. On the group's first new material since 2011, Jesse F. Keeler – one half of MSTRKRFT and bassist with Toronto hard rockers Death From Above 1979 – continues to push his rock inclinations into dance music territory and the result is an aggressive, agitative affair. Hard-partying techno heads will love the anxiety-inducing tone of Operator; others may see this as a missed opportunity, after a regenerative five-year hiatus, for MSTRKRFT to explore creative nuance over noise.