Review: MS MR – Secondhand Rapture

13 May

MS MR Secondhand Rapture

So here it is, almost a year to the day since New York duo MS MR burst onto the scene in a cloud of secrecy and dark introspection with their debut single, “Hurricane”, they have released their debut album, Secondhand Rapture. Since then the veil of mystery has been lifted, the fog has cleared and Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow have taken the music world by force. Buzz has been stacked upon buzz as the duo have grown into exceptional live performers and each new release and video has been met with greater acclaim. Could they possibly maintain this standard into a full length release or, like the lyrics of most their recent single, “Fantasy”, proclaims, would this be an instance ”When my reality/Could never live up, could never live up/To my fantasy”?

Thankfully no as live up it certainly does, pulling together 12 songs of glorious poppy darkness. There is no single theme, no thread running through the album as such but it doesn’t need one, providing as it does a combination of light and dark in a battle for and against love, life and self-awareness. Oh, and you can sing and dance along like a lunatic as well. What’s not to love?

The album opens with the five tracks that had previously been released as the Candy Bar Creep Show EP and their last single “Fantasy”. As a result, longer term fans may be tempted to skip straight to track six to start the new stuff with “Head Is Not My Home”, but to do so would be a mistake as the opening salvo sounds as vibrant and compelling as ever. “Bones” in particular has been given a new lease of dramatic life following its recent inclusion on a Game of Thrones trailer and the drumming of “Fantasy” is more thunderous and addictive than ever. Included here alongside seven new songs, incidentally all 12 were written and recorded over the same time period, these five take on new sensibilities and offer up new connotations for the listener to enjoy.

MS MR resides in a world of the macabre, a world of glitchy electronics, incessant rhythms, swirling strings and deliciously gloomy vocal harmonies. ”We really get off and thrive on a certain level of uneasiness and suspense” Lizzy told us, and that is apparent throughout Secondhand Rapture. Be it the upbeat, clap-happy fun of “Salty Sweet” or the slower melancholy of “Twenty Seven” and “This Isn’t Control”, there is always a sense of disquiet and drama within. It’s just how pop should be, full of big, majestic melodies and hooks big enough to catch a whale. The brilliantly brooding “BTSK” even contains a synth line that is oddly reminiscent of some unnecessarily successful 90s euro-dance, it sounds amazing.

There are so many highlights within; it is almost like a greatest hit compilation. Picking the next single is more taxing than trying a Rubik’s cube while drunk but our money would be on “No Trace”. It’s a beautiful and brutally theatrical piece of noir-pop, full of attitude and sass as well as trademark MS MR rhythms and striking film score-esque strings that urgently harry and batter the listener into sublime submission.

MS MR have been hitting home runs since they came out swinging last year and after the success and acclaim of their previous singles, videos and EP, with Secondhand Rapture they may well have just hit a grand slam.

Secondhand Rapture is out now and available digitally from iTunes.


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2 Responses to “Review: MS MR – Secondhand Rapture”

  1. Ross CMR May 18, 2013 at 23:52 #

    Their new Cinemagram only makes it better too! http://smarturl.it/MSMRCinemagram

  2. name not supplied August 1, 2013 at 22:00 #

    i like the way you write

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