New York duo Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow - otherwise known as Ms Mr - laid considerable groundwork in proving themselves as electro pop professionals with their debut 'Secondhand Rapture'; though lacking in anything that shook the ground of the well-trodden genre, they showed their credentials and potential with memorable tracks that carried themselves live and were, like the title of the debut, rapturous in nature. Excitement for their second LP was subsequently not unfounded.
Where 'Secondhand Rapture' set the tone of the duo's debut from the off - the depth and darkness of 'Hurricane', followed by the similarly catchy and soaring 'Bones' - album number two, 'How Does It Feel' sets off on a slightly lacklustre footing; 'Painted' is pleasingly rhythmic and a fine reintroduction to the unwilted vocal of Plapinger, but it doesn't quite hit the ground running with the dark ferocity of their previous work.
Tracks like 'Criminals' and 'No Guilt in Pleasure' show the pair embracing their familiar intensity - creeping tracks that Plapinger traverses with her crisp vocal, with a varied and building production from Hershenow; overlapping vocals, techy undertones and a scintillating pop vibe that propels the tracks along.
The problem with the album lies mainly in the dichotomy between the art-driven image that the duo carry off with gusto in their publicity and the seeming lack of ability to carry this fully through their music. Tracks on the album hint at something beneath the surface that could soar, but are never quite given the chance to. It's not a bad album by any means - both Plapinger and Hershenow make what could be a formidable pair - but those hoping for the feeling of rapture that album number one just about hit, might be left wanting.
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