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Secondhand Rapture ()

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"Hurricane" announced MS MR as a group equally inspired by Massive Attack and Adele: they're sleek, but not quite as aloof as pure trip-hop, and also fiery, if not as straightforward as the 21 chart-topper. MS MR explore this duality in their sound from a number of different angles, some more successfully than others, on their debut album Secondhand Rapture. They come close to a Top 40 sound on "Think of You," even with the chorus "I still think of you/And all the shit you put me through," and get filmic on "Bones," where brass and rolling timpani add an air of frosty majesty. Indeed, the duo's best moments play up the contrast between MS' passionate vocals and MR's intricate backdrops, as on "Dark Doo Wop" and especially "Salty Sweet," where harp, handclaps, and marimba complement one of MS' loosest, most appealing performances. Secondhand Rapture also shines when MS MR avoid the somewhat heavy-handed feel that creeps into a few of its tracks and let some air into their sound, which they do particularly well on the delicate ballad "This Isn't Control" and "Ash Tree Lane," where the lighter melody is especially flattering to MS' vocals. MS MR concentrate on a sullen yet sultry mood for the bulk of Secondhand Rapture, and while that delivers several notable tracks -- "Fantasy" and "Head Is Not My Home" chief among them -- at times it's almost too much. Still, the album's strongest tracks show that the duo has plenty of talent and potential. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi Hide synopsis

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