MS MR – How Does It Feel – the follow up to 2013’s ‚Secondhand Rapture‘ is everything what you’d expect from the Brooklyn based band. Trying its best to follow the debut’s success without sounding like a mediocre repetition. But could it have been bolder? Or is it fine for what it is?
A lot can happen in the music industry over the course of two years. When the ‚Candy Bar Creep Show EP‚ was released in early 2013, I was still working in a different job. Germany hadn’t won the Fifa World Cup in over 20 years and Steven Gerard was still a Liverpool legend leading his team on the field as their captain. The band had released a few songs (most of them on the EP) via Tumbler and Soundcloud and became the sound of the moment for a few weeks (yes, two years ago a hype lasted a few weeks not only a day). When ‚Secondhand Rapture‚ was released a few months later it delivered. Well, the songs from the EP were still the best songs on there, but the album managed a decent success. A little over two years down the line and I’m wondering: are people waiting for this record? Has the band really managed to attract fans who stay true to the band, or have they moved on to the next big thing as soon as they heard ‚Hurricane‚ or ‚Fantasy‚ on the radio?
It’s one of the first really hot days of summer a few weeks ago. The band are in town before they are heading off to play the biggest festival in Germany the next day. I’m scanning the crowd looking for a pattern here. Oh and there are your fashion oddballs. Ever wondered who the people are who keep these tiny boutique shops in the hip areas of your city from going into liquidation? Well, they seem to like MS MR. You know I mean those shops that are empty apart from the one rack of leather belts (350 a piece), all white or with unplastered walls and stuff. One of Berlin’s finest designers is on hand to prove me right as well. The support is forgettable but when the band enter the stage I feel for them. After two songs I’m drained from the heat. The show is sold out and you can cut through the air like through a thick layers of cotton candy. The hits still work. The crowd does its best to dance under these circumstances (and if you’ve ever been to a Berlin show, you know that crowds here are hard work anyway). And surprisingly the new songs fit in perfectly.
One could have seen it coming. Opener and first single ‚Painted‘ is a 1980s dancefloor smasher with enough bassheavy production to get everyone going. The whole albums has that 80s touch. Most of the songs are very danceable. There’s no bad song on here, that’s for sure. But then apart from the opener there’s no other clear hit single. Maybe that’s the albums biggest flaw. Is the news of a second album still enough today to get kids excited again? Something just feels missing. And I can’t pin it down apart from calling it: ‚the big hit‘. It’s a shame really that I see it that way. But if you don’t have a hit, it’s going to be immensely difficult.
In the press info for the album, the label is speaking of 65 sync-deals for the first album. That’s really impressive and tells you a lot about the commercial appeal of the band. Financially that should also mean that the band is sound. So did they even bother? Or did they think a solid second album would be enough? Would the band have gone into a different direction if the first album hadn’t been that successful? I’m not sure but it makes me wonder. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next album to find out what the band are really about.
MS MR – How Does It Feel is out on 17.07.2015
You can pick up a copy here: iTunes