Òran Mór – 20/11

Looking to escape November blues, you could do little better than finding sanctuary in Òran Mór, and MS MR’s escapist anthems. The night is opened by London four-piece, Flyte, celebrating Glasgow as their first gig over the border: making them now an internationally touring band, surely? Charming and melodic with a suggestion that their four part harmonies in fact come from one perfectly balanced being, their lyrical intelligence is perhaps the sunniest sound to come out of a retreat to Wales to write about Harley Street doctors and rain. Long may their touring trend continue; Glasgow and Flyte are set to have a beautiful relationship.

©Richard Johnson

But as the stage is reset to receive the night’s headline, the Flyte-induced buzz turns to one of anticipation, and as MS MR make their appearance, no-one is disappointed. It has been suggested by more than one party that a review of MS MR could easily consist of an ode to singer, Lizzy Plapinger’s, – the MS of the New York pair – vivid hair colour choices. But can we also take a moment to appreciate her smile as one of the best in pop music? MR, too, (producer, Max Hershenow) should be commended for his evident joy in performing to a live crowd. For a band which first made themselves known through internet and blogosphere infiltration, their connection with Òran Mór’s eager gathering feels like a tearing away of the media filter, and suits the effulgent duo like a pair of tartan shorts on Lizzy (which is to say, very much indeed).

Their stage presence however, would mean very little without the musical prowess which has afforded them such acclaim. While there is nothing spectacular or new in their lyrics, there is a great appeal to their sound. Whether it’s the defiance of ‘Think of You’ or the infectious hook in ‘Salty Sweet’: “We fear rejection, prize attention, crave affection, Just another pop confession”, they’re good, but only really work in the inimitable mix of Lizzy’s vocals and the backdrop of Max’s production. Fortunately the resulting palette of pastel sounds and the dark soulfulness which carries the joyful performance does really work. With only their debut album to draw from, the crowd is left without an encore, but this only the beginning for MS MR.

[Caitlin MacColl]

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