Secondhand Rapture (2013) ★ ★ ★ ★
They don’t joke around – their music doesn’t aim to entice, tease or deliberate but get right into the strength of the song. The debut album from MS MR indulges in deep, heavy melodies with striking dynamics. It is a pleasant surprise to hear such soul from an electro pop release – mostly thanks to the husky, youthful voice of Lizzy Plapinger. The other half of the Brooklyn duo, producer Max Hershenow, has put on a splendid production brimming with glamour of pop but also with a tinge of grunginess.
Secondhand Rapture starts with the successful single “Hurricane” off the Candy Bar Creep Show EP. Dark yet alluring, Plapinger’s vocals are intertwined into wielding strings, deep bass and jangling percussion. There is a mystical quality, haunting yet strangely cosy, MS MR dig up a world of anxieties yet create a sound completely blissful.
‘Bones’ follows –having had a token appearance on the ever-dramatic Game of Thrones, there is a sense of the fight but glittering electronics cut through the eerie background to deep piano chords and tricky lyrics. “Dark twisted fantasy, losing reality/ kissing death and losing my breath.” At times, it can feel that the layering steals away value from the lyrics but it’s just as pleasant to bask in the flowing textures.
In a nod to a primary influence of theirs, Florence + The Machine, the album sports dashes of emotions in chorus outbursts. Thankfully, it never gets too angsty or blubbering. It’s as if the spirit of the album has been knocked back into a bittersweet reality – she is deep, sophisticated and no longer naïve.
Standout tracks for me are ‘Head is not my Home’, with eccentric arrangements and a grittiness fairly likeable and ‘Think of You’ which I feel will be a family favourite.
From the upbeat and playful ‘Salty Sweet’ to more sombre ‘Fantasy’ and “Btsk”, Seconhand Rapture fans into a few different personality. However, there is a similar aesthetic throughout – so I guess you’re either going to be a fan or not.
The great thing about MS MR is that their music is quite accessible for the fact that there is nothing too obscure to turn off listeners. What began as an act of anonymity – where the two chose to veil their identities – is now a highly personable creation.
Massive changes since the EP? Yes and no. Worth the listen? For sure.
Get those lyrics revised for July when they perform at Splendour in the Grass.
They’ve got a pretty funky tumblr going on.
Published on purplesneakers.com.au.