Live Review

MS MR, XOYO, London

The two definitely have a blast onstage, taking time to dance, shake, and simply smile at the audacious joy of it all.

MS MR emerged like magicians before a jaw-dropping act of death-defying mystery and intrigue. The New York duo had a helluva lot to live up with when they finally unveiled themselves. Thankfully, with 2013 well under way, Lizzy and Max (names finally revealed) seem to be pulling it off, their debut album due very soon via major label Columbia.

In a suitable fashion, the two appear at XOYO as silhouettes against foggy red lights with deep, booming chords to signal opener ‘Bones’, a thudding, pumping number that lulls you into eerie, synth territory before revealing the terrible true nature of these two sorcerers. They’re basically a really cool version of The Ting Tings. Both boy/girl duos make 80s influenced electronic, bassy music designed for bright young things. However, whilst The Ting Tings went all Calvin Harris dancefloor, MS MR bring a brooding sheen to a similar genre.

And the two definitely have a blast onstage, despite all the posturing and supposed angst, taking time to dance, shake, reply to the hollering audience and simply smile at the audacious joy of it all. Which is bloody beautiful. ‘Ash Tree Lane’ is an unabashed piece of melancholic electronic pop and a new track is spat forth with a surprisingly cheerful snarl. Lizzy Plapinger has the show-woman spirit internally assimilated, climbing atop amps, flirting ever so slightly with the audience and taking hold of tracks by their lapels and shaking them into danceable frenzies.

It will be interesting to see what the forthcoming full length contains from MS MR, whether it’s a chest full of subtle spells, each more complex than the last, or a bright flourish and dazzle of electric sweetness that’s more sheen than substance. Either way, there will be an audience. It all depends on whether or not you let yourselves get fooled by the trick (sorry, illusion). And well, sometimes, it’s just best not to know.

They finish with the stellar ‘Hurricane’, an alternative pop smash if ever there was one, bringing a big, glittery finale via exploding keys and unstoppable mass sing-a-longs. A quick encore cover of a Patrick Wolf track cements the pairs passion for big pop hooks, something that Wolf has certainly never shied away from. The next act in this fascinating musical witchcraft and wizardry will certainly be compelling and captivating, but, for now, the pair leave their stage to rapturous applause from the bewitched bright things before them.

Tags: MS MR, Features

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