MS MR - 'Secondhand Rapture'
MS MR sort of showed up out of nowhere. A Brooklyn based indie duo, the two first introduced themselves to the world with a song called Hurricane. I first came across it when it was shown to me by Isolated Nation’s own Sean Coffey. I heard it for the first time alongside the music video that the duo had pieced together for the rather impressive track. I say pieced together because the film clip is really not much more that an incredibly dense montage of pop culture images. Everything from clips from classic cinema to modern pop music videos and obscure archival footage. The video goes extremely well alongside the song, creating a beautiful requiem of pop culture. It has honestly become one of my all time favorite marriages of video and song. I eagerly awaited for the release of any further music and videos by MS MR.
This came next in the form of Bones, a song, and video not as impressive as Hurricane but certainly a worthy follow up and a really cool track in and video in and of itself. I thought this duo could do no wrong, I had found a great new musical artist, and one that I was sure would be a favourite for years to come. This was only reassured with the release of their EP Candy Bar Creep Show. The beautifully titled, very modern album art and all four tracks on the EP (which includes Hurricane and Bones) were in the same vein of the songs and videos already released. The music was fairly dreamy and at time verging on nightmarish but it is not without optimism and has the influence of film noir drizzled on top of it. It was sexy and fresh, yet highly accessible. The voice of the lead vocalist Lizzy Plapinger is captivating and reminds me slightly of Florence Welch although far more contained and innocent. From what I have seen of live video’s her voice does carry well to a live performance.
However, all of this lovely flattery aside, this article is to review their debut album entitled Secondhand Rapture. I really have to stress at this point just how excited I was for this album. I thought I would receive with it, a large collection of songs with the same feel as Candy Bar Creep show. I thought I would receive an album that I would fall in love with. However when I played the album for the first time, I skipped over the first four tracks as they were the same tracks that were on the EP, and what do I hear? Something, really very sad and disappointing. The album so quickly loses its dream like quality. It ceases to be anything more than an upbeat indie pop record. One that reminds me (fittingly with Plapinger’s voice) of Lungs, the first album from Florence and the Machine. Something that now sounds a little outdated and weak. Yes, it is fun for a while but we learnt with that album that you get over tracks with that ridiculous clapping beat so quickly. The album actually turned out to be one of the dorkiest indie pop pieces I have ever listened to, with one lyric quoting Harry Potter, saying “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.” Seriously, how lame can you get?
I may sound a bit too upset with the album and not very critical, perhaps because indie pop is really not my kind of music, at least not the kind we get from this disappointment. If it is, on the other hand, you may enjoy this album…until you get bored and move on to another generic indie pop album.
To be fair, there are two tracks on the album (excluding the four from the EP) that are enjoyable, dreamlike and well constructed both sonically and lyrically. These two being BTSK and Twenty Seven. Upon hearing these all I could hope for was that perhaps the last half of the album would redeem it in some way, sadly these are the only two redeemable new tracks.
MS MR is a duo that have potential to be something really special but they seem to have almost completely changed their sound already somewhere between their first EP and this album; and that’s kind of sad. What could have been an incredibly moody and dream like mix of low electronic sounds and slow beats has turned into something sounding more out dated and dorky then I ever wish to hear again.