Review: MS MR – How Does It Feel

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Vibrant

Although some slip into convention, MS MR manage to craft tracks that simultaneously offer a delicacy as well as evoking old-school disco vibes.

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Two years after the release of their debut record, MS MR returned earlier this year with ‘Painted’. Buzzing with eclectic sounds and layered with lead vocalist Lizzy’s breathy tones, the track implied that fans should be expecting something very different to Secondhand Rapture, an album characterised by its melancholic aura. Following from ‘Painted’, the duo have also teased the album’s title track to fans, which is just as punchy. But How Does It Feel doesn’t feel saturated with upbeat tracks, rather it blends this sound with a fragile one to create a vibrant record.

The album begins with ‘Painted’, a captivating start to the LP. Following from ‘Painted’, is the pop-centric ‘Criminals’ that echoes the sound of La Roux’s most recent album Trouble in Paradise whilst simultaneously evoking memories of Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s stamp on the pop scene back in the early noughties. The track wraps itself up in old-school pop and disco riffs, stripping itself down only to pull itself back together to an epic finale. ‘No Guilt In Pleasure’ then follows but sinks into a generic pop track, not offering the diverse euphoric dimensions that ‘Criminals’ and ‘Painted’ achieve, rather manifesting into something conventional, which happens occasionally throughout the album on tracks such as in ‘Tunnels’.

Elsewhere in the album, gentler tracks such as ‘Wrong Victory’ and ‘All Things Lost’ make appearances, showcasing Lizzy’s ethereal sounds whilst synchronously offering a husky tone, demonstrating a versatility in vocal range. As well as this, these slower tracks lyrically bloom, constructing a wistful aura against the upbeat tracks elsewhere. What becomes particularly special in the album, however, is when the duo fuse this tamer sound with deep, unusual dances beats, innovating a sound that is both innocent and tender as well as profoundly disco/dance. ‘How Does It Feel’ and ‘Reckless’ manage to articulate this expert crafting idyllically, their verses characterised by Lizzy’s delicacy and their choruses characterised by an orb of dance that verges on having an epic quality.

The pair slip up on a  few tracks where they casually dangerously descend into a generic pop sound. But before the listener can worry that the duo have decided to go down a more mainstream route, MS MR showcase interesting disco vibes infused with indie pop. How Does It Feel is a strong follow-up to their debut, where the duo have built on the unique sound they established on Secondhand Rapture and intermingle this sound with unusual beats through heavily improved production, creating an honest postmodern sound that is lyrically powerful.

How Does It Feel will be released on Friday 17th July via RCA Records.

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Film & English student, Deputy Editor of The Edge and President of FilmSoc. Likes FKA twigs, BANKS and other capitalised artists.

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