Enthralling vocals and melodies – equal parts delicate and striking – are all in abundance on MS MR’s cohesive debut album, Secondhand Rapture.

Saying that pop duo MS MR have attracted A LOT of attention in a very short space of time would be an understatement. After seeing MS MR’s explosive set at Laneway Festival earlier this year, it’s easy to see why. Bold and confident, Lizzy Plapinger (MS) and Max Hershenow (MR) strutted their stuff like they had been performing at Australian music festivals since they could tie their shoelaces, despite it being their very first visit to these shores. Fortunately, MS MR bring all this dazzle and more to their debut album, Secondhand Rapture.

First single and leading track ‘Hurricane’ was featured on MS MR’s 2012 EP Candy Bar Creep Show, which was released one track per week on Tumblr. ‘Hurricane’ received a ton of triple j airplay and has set the framework for MS MR’s pop brand – an individual otherworldliness that mixes effortlessly with infectious hooks and Plapinger’s crisp, tantalising vocals. Almost all songs perform to this formula, which, admittedly, does begin to feel familiar towards the end of the album.

MS MR have a liking for darker themes, especially so in ‘Bones’: “Dig up her bones but leave the soul alone / Let her find a way to a better place / Broken dreams and silent screams / Empty churches with soulless curses.” That, or a twist on the token love song – ‘Dark Doo Wop’ is the end-of-the-world lovers’ ballad of the album and is captivating with echoes which swirl continuously around the space between your ears. In MS MR’s most recent single, ‘Fantasy’, the duo translate the guaranteed disparity between reality and dreams into a contrastingly uplifting pop hit.

*** and a half stars out of five

BY KATIE DAVERN

Secondhand Rapture is out now on Sony Music.

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