Only releasing their first single in 2012, MS MR are rapidly establishing themselves as what appears to be the coolest duo in alternative pop.  Hailing from Brooklyn, US, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow first exploded onto the scene through Tumblr, part of a carefully constructed roll-out plan for their debut. Nevertheless, playing live in various venues across the UK, the question arises as to whether this band, once severed from their internet-mediated image, still delivers.  By the end of the evening however, you were left in no doubt that MS MR definitely lived up to the online hype.

After the two support acts, Freddie Dickson and Thumpers pounded out their catchy tunes, MS MR bounded onto the small stage donned in sequins, turquoise tie-dye and rainbow-coloured hair.  Bright, bold and loud; their music certainly matches up with their appearance. This was immediately obvious when the first few synth-heavy bars of their debut hit ‘Bones’ boomed from the speakers.  What makes this duo strong however, is the presence of a darker, edgier ethos which saturates their music.  Brooding rumblings and gloomy minor notes are overlaid with atmospheric backing vocals which add sophisticated depth.  Lizzie’s ethereal vocals complete the musical package and soar through lyrics such as ‘dig up her bones but leave her soul behind’, not without a sense of the melancholy.

A particular highlight was a performance of their most recent single, ‘Think of You’ which by the end of the song had everyone shouting along to the highly-strung and energetic chorus, if they had not been singing along already.

MS MR are definitely a band to watch. When once asked what their inspiration was, they replied that their music is a collage of culture today; at the same time sweet and sugary, dark and gothic.  Seamlessly blending this patchwork of moods into catchy tunes coupled with the high energy and charm which was evident in their live performance, is the formula which makes MS MR so strong.

MS MR will play the Festival Republic Stage on Friday (Reading) and Saturday (Leeds).

Author: Beatrix Calow

Beatrix Calow is currently studying History of Art at the Courtauld Institute in London. She has a particular passion for ballet and opera or plays that leave me thinking for a long time afterwards.