New York always has something exciting happening and one of this year’s most talked about artists, MS MR, The duo’s EP Candy Bar Creep Show was released this month, a sign of better things to come.
Reminiscent of the contemporary highs and lows that Florence + the Machine are currently delivering, MS MR are scratching a little deeper into nature and pagan themes, bringing us lyrics that echo with something that rings with truth and experience. This is what has led them to being constantly compared to the witchery of Florence + the Machine and Welch’s unbeatable vocals, not to mention the strong use of percussion and strong, sweeping string and wind instruments. But, this is not a damaging point to the reputation that MS MR have been building since their first official single Hurricane was released earlier this year, no, for there is something so special here and something that we all need to pay attention to.
As with many outfits coming our of NYC, MS MR kept their identity under wraps for as long as they could, using imagery that represented the themes and music found within MS MR rather than using themselves. With the lead up to the release of their first EP Candy Bar Creep Show, their identity was finally revealed and we can now put a face to the duo behind the magic. They go by the names Lizzy Plapinger (the MS) and Max Hershenow (the MR). Sometimes, the mystery that shrouds an artist’s work is more tantalising than the work itself but that is not the case here. Already promised for big things MS MR are still keeping their physical presence in what they do low-key.
Their videos, for example, are intriguing cut and paste affairs, preferring old footage than new, giving everything that they do that retro-futuristic touch of nostalgia that the likes of Lana Del Rey brought to the masses. But, unlike Lana, they are not living in Instagram, no, you are more likely to find their inspirations and networking skills flourishing on Tumblr, a social media sight that isn’t particularly renown for those wanting to share music… something which a band trying to stay ‘off’ the radar would warm to.
In a year that has seen underground chillwave stars creating a ruckus, it is inspiring to see an act that is referencing this genre and movement but tying it into something that is more favourable, even if it is still challenging. Dark Pop, Goth-pop and erotic sensibilities are all here but none of these attributes are fighting for the limelight, they are all tied in together, sharing the space with the notes mentioned above. Their strongest moment is in the track which saw these guys break on to the scene, Hurricane, where production and lyricism are their strongest. Bones stirs up nostalgic references to Tori Amos’ classic LP Little Earthquakes and Dark Doo Wop burns to a slow march of drums and layered vocals, juxtaposing bright vocals with lyrics full of despair. Ash Tree Lane serves as their most commercial track, raising the hopes of those that listen to it with a cascading chorus, even if it touches upon the themes of plagues and mistakes.
MS MR have already drummed up enough expectation to get their fans wondering what a full-length LP might offer us but that is something that we’ll have to wait for. Now, it is time to revel in the glory of the Candy Bar Creep Show EP and appreciate what this NYC duo have crafted.
Written by Ben Taylor