It was Thomas Edison that once proclaimed, “genius is measured as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration“. Well, here’s a new band that have been working very hard since their birth, only six months ago, at nailing down their intellectual inspirations, so now we’re looking to see if they’ve got the graft. They feel hand-crafted for the UK market, although Ms Mr are actually a boy/girl duo who call New York home, but their initial music is so exceptionally good that we think it’s worth giving an extra effort behind them, as we enthusiastically punt them out to our network like a media pimp. It’s the least we can do as this act is special. Very special.
We’ve recently bounced a few emails back and forth with them to try and garner as much detail as we possibly can. Sadly they’re yet another band that are holding back their names and faces until they début the live show later this Autumn. It’s a trick that’s infuriating to anyone trying to write about them, but they won’t give a flying fuck about that, plus we’re not going to pass up on a band this good simply because of their anonymity.
Once our online chat got onto the subject of their history and influences we began to learn a lot more about them. They are currently unsigned, having only started writing together about six months ago in the deepest, darkest parts of Brooklyn. They’ve begun a DIY campaign using some very specific united imagery, which you can see on their Tumblr alongside a video that simply soundtracks a scene from Labyrinth. In order to allow the music to marinade, prior to their meticulously planned full-scale live attack, they’re delivering their debut EP, Ghost City, for free on their Bandcamp.
The opener, Bones, is an ideal introduction with a metronomic beat that locks your attention as the bold piano chords echo into the surrounding space. The vocals are stunning and without any face to put to the voice we had images of Elly Jackson and as we got to the chorus it shifted to the husky elegance of Sophie Ellis-Bextor. It’s dramatic pop at it’s best, with breaks that come after rumbled drum rolls and cultured, layered samples, reminding us of recent Recommender favourites, Alpines.
They spoke of their move from their country roots to the giant urban landscape that is New York and how that’s affected their music. They mentioned influences such as Eddie O’Keefe’s short film, The Ghosts, which tells the story of how a teenage girl gets seduced by a strange urban gang arriving in her village. This is a band young in age and showing a similar kind of romantic naivete with the world around them, like a butterfly emerging from it’s humble chrysalis. Theirs is a Greystoke of an EP as they stare out with wonder at the world which is about to begin staring back at them.
The second track is a particularly outstanding cover of Patrick Wolf’s Time Of My Life, which once again shows off their youthful bravery as they take on one of the UK’s best multi-instrumentalists. We think they’ve done Patrick proud, as they take it to a chest-full of rousing theatre that should get the Florence & The Machine fans ears pricked.
The third tune, Strings, sounds like a soundtrack to an emotional scene from Six Feet Under, were it sung by Adele. The vocals are more front and centre than anywhere else on the EP and she deserves the showcase, as she not only handles it perfectly, but the tone strikes your heart strings like a harp. However, it’s with the closer, Ash Tree Lane, that we realised that there was no turning back. This EP had us at hello, but with this last tune they had us sycophantically hanging onto their ankles as the EP completed. They claim that it’s directly inspired by Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel, House of Leaves, as they look for an unconventional structure, making a piece of music that feels as equally expansive as it does up in your face. It’s an epic curtain.
It’s not often that an artist lists 46 different bands when asked about their influences, as well as some ergodic literature, but although that initially seems over-enthusiastic there’s actually a significance. Look closer at their inspirations, see the lines that relate them all and you get the themes that this band are based upon. This is a duo who are tackling pop intellectually. There’s real thought and design going into this before hand. They want a masterpiece and that’s going to need some studious effort, however, if – just like us – everyone else is equally as rocked by their brilliance, then it’s the music industry that may end up doing the required perspiration on their behalf. (MB)
MS MR – TIME OF MY LIFE (cover)
MS MR – BONES
MS MR – ASH TREE LANE