Sleigh Bells, Cults, Purity Ring, Matt & Kim – the New York scene is already overloaded with hipster-friendly boy/girl duos, which would suggest that enigmatic Brooklyn pair MS MR might have their work cut out to get themselves noticed.
However, despite self-coining a whole host of abstract meaningless labels, from ‘tumblr glitch pop’ to ‘soulfuzz’ to ‘electroshock,’ to describe their music, it’s their gloomy cinematic sound which arguably stands the best chance of breaking through to the mainstream.
Indeed, their fondness for Instagram-styled aesthetics (see the video for “Hurricane” below) isn’t the only thing they share with Lana Del Rey with the does-as-it-says-on-the-tin “Dark Doo Wop” echoing the sultry noirish pop of the Born To Die femme fatale. Additionally, the slow-burning grandiosity of “Bones,” apparently inspired by a spontaneous late night walk through a graveyard, could give Florence Welch a run for her money in the gothic melodrama stakes.
Like many emerging artists these days, the Ms & Mr appear keen to keep their cards close to their chest, only recently revealing their real identities as Lizzy Plapinger, the owner of boutique pop label Neon Gold Records, and her university friend Max Hershenow. But their deliberate act of secrecy certainly seems to have paid off, having secured a support slot on Marina & The Diamonds’ US tour and attracted the attention of Jay-Z, who posted a link to one of their tracks on his Twitter page.
So far, there are only two official releases to their name, although a full-length album, scheduled for release later this year, is already done and dusted. Named after an episode of Rugrats, 2011 E.P., Candy Bar Creep Show whipped the blogosphere into a frenzy thanks to MS MR’s use of Tumblr to promote it, unveiling each of its four tracks with a series of accompanying images and videos.
But it’s the ice-cold delicate piano ballad, “Strings,” the standout track from their very first Ghost City USA E.P., which indicates they may well live up to The Guardian newspaper’s proclamation of MS MR as “chillwave’s first superstar”.