Whoever said the ’90s delivered nothing special definitely have a case to answer. A whole new crop of computer literate Generation Y kids have built home studios and begun assaulting the airwaves with music so good even your grandmother would love it. On top of that list of “never really heard of ‘em” artists to watch are Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow who make up rising pop duo MS MR.
Their sound has been likened to Lana Del Rey and the juggernaut that is Florence and the Machine. One listen and you will understand why. So it’s no wonder all eyes are on MS MR and their very first album.
It has been eight months since their EP release, but now the New York-based duo MS MR are ripe and ready to release the new fruits of the season in the form of their contented début album, Secondhand Rapture. Much to the delight of an already dense fan base, this highly anticipated album draws back to the same dark and sensual atmosphere created in their first EP.
Secondhand Rapture opens with the song that started it all, Hurricane – a powerful, cinematic ballad, rich with deep emotion. In fact, if you already know these guys, four of the first five songs you may have heard before on the Candy Bar Creep Show (2012) release. At least the track sequence has changed a little. But don’t let that get you down – there are eight brand-new tracks to tickle your downstairs parts.
Nestled comfortably between Ash Tree Lane and Dark Doo Wop sits the recent single, Fantasy. “How can you be what I want to see,” chants flamboyant vocalist Lizzy. With the aid of drummer boys marching into war, she concludes, “My reality can never live up to my fantasy”. Bound in rusty shackles and shrouded with mystery and despair, you can’t help but notice that each song on the album is given its own shadowy existence. The album on its own maintains a rather broad theme of longing and sorrow. with the occasional burst of self-belief (just enough to save you from eating a whole tub of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream in one sitting).
There is a real old-fashioned approach to the song production throughout Secondhand Rapture, which incorporates the use of dramatic brass, powerful percussion and elementary strings. Max certainly knows how to stamp his mark on a record. It is through this modern traditionalist approach that he gives the album a post-orchestral kick in the balls, bringing the twisted and mysterious lyrics to life.
Have you ever listened to a new song and thought you’ve heard it before? That’s a little how the second half of the album pans out. Catchy as they are creative, any number of these songs could be released as singles: Salty Sweet, Twenty Seven, No Trace are all well-constructed and well-delivered pop songs – a true credit to the undeniable talents of MS MR.
The two Brooklynites are a complementary team with musical chemistry to match. This album definitely plays towards a more emotional audience, and sentimental guys, whether man enough to admit it or not, won’t be able to resist Lizzy’s charms, nor the urge to listen to this album on repeat.
Secondhand Rapture has all the working components to be one of the most successful albums of the year. And with only a couple months until their slot at Splendour In The Grass 2013, MS MR have given us just enough time to familiarize ourselves with 12 songs that will be sure to pull a crowd and a half. Get the highlighters out so you can say you’ve seen them before they were cool.
Listen: MS MR – Secondhand Rapture