“Candy Bar Creep Show EP” – MS MR

5 stars (out of 5)

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Product DetailsThis 4-track EP by the girl on vocals, boy on keyboards Brooklyn based duo conveniently collects all their releases so far, highlighting the newest track “Bones” as the lead-off single. The worst thing I could say about MS MR is that they can resemble thematically, sonically and vocally Florence and The Machine (the year’s most tiresome and frequently used reference) and the best is that these doomed, timeless, high school girl vignettes call to mind a more magnified version of Cat’s Eyes (responsible for one of the very best albums of last year), where all the blurry edges have been rubbed away.

The aforementioned “Bones” is very good, all Bernard Herrmann ‘Psycho’ strings and tripped-out tension, but of all the tracks here is maybe the least effective and is the one where Lizzy Plapinger vocally and lyrically (‘empty churches with soulless curses’) most resembles X Factor goth, Ms Welch but thankfully without the contrived histrionics and harps.

Hurricane” is one of the best pop songs (and it is pop song) of this year, hands down. ‘Welcome to the inner workings of my mind, so dark and foul, I can’t disguise’ so says Plapinger with a swagger and confidence betraying the sentiment in this multi-layered, clanking and creaking cinematic gem and with finger-clicking “Dark Doo Wop” (potentially disastrous song title but fear not!) picture Lana Del Rey and spear it with your stilleto, screw it up and throw it away, that’s the attitude here. Strings quivering in the corner with the refrain ‘This world is gonna burn, burn, burn’ and Plapinger sounding very Sinead O’Conner circa “Troy” with an emphasis on the ‘buuurn’; mental health problems have never sounded so appealing.

Ash Tree Lane” is the most complex and fullest sounding track here, although it’s fair to say that MS MR don’t really do bare, and is probably my favourite. There’s little deviation from the sonic tone already established but the swell of brass wrapping itself around the ‘ooh ohh, woah woah’ wordless chorus and the moment where Plapinger declares her ‘mind is a mess’ and she inhales an audible gasp of breath and the music stops for split second is hugely effective and exciting, creating pitch black vivid imagery.

If MS MR don’t take 2 years to release their debut (which according to the group is coming, it’s finished apparently and they’ve secured a record deal) and can maintain this level of quality then they are truly an exciting prospect and will be something to really look forward to in 2013.  I, for one, can’t wait.