Band To Check Out: MS. - 'Boomslang' (Single) + 'Tracey Was Here' (EP)
LA based duo MS. are very much open to interpretation. In fact, they thrive on each new comparison or opinion that their music generates. Where on each fresh discovery, their music conjures new images, emotions and reactions from its new listener. Where their work seen through fresh eyes allows the band to see themselves from a different perspective.
'Boomslang' is all earthy, emotive guitar strums, rattles, and shakers, thumping percussion and super chilled vocals that melt and sigh and on some level; channel some sort of African, tribal chant. Like the Boomslang Snake of Africa the track takes its title from, 'Boomslang' conjures images of the sun setting over the Serengeti, the wind whispering through the short grass plains, and the musical influences of continental Africa peer through holes in the more contemporary /peculiar aspects of production and the deep sadness that drifts in and out of some of the melodies.
MS. are fundamentally of the Art Rock genre which sees their compositions take on much more complex and experimental forms. It's all about extended instrumentals, philosophising, setting the mood and tone and story telling, than creating music to dance to. 'Boomslang' is taken from the duo's debut EP 'Tracey Was Here' which is essentially 6 tracks of wanderlust and wonderment, with 'Boomslang' being the firmest contender for most mainstream.
The duo have been likened to alt-J and Jack Garratt amongst other contemporaries but these are the two that most resonated for me when listening to the EP in full. All three acts are boundary pushers, big on experimenting with production and sound.
Each track on the EP stick out like sore thumbs and for all the right reasons. Take the tension building 'Harlan' and the more feral 'TBKN' - essentially spoken word tracks with evocative and eclectic production, and the channelling of a thousand spirits that both emotionally resonate in their own right. Or 'Yellow' where it all goes a little bit funked up Red Hot Chili Peppers with a quick break for an odd British sound sample!
This is where the real power of MS. originates. From the deepest cracks that encourage you to make up your own mind and build your own connection with the music. To see through the abstract structures and find your own reason. To be pacified, to be entertained, to be moved. To believe in something bigger than ourselves. To make sense of the senseless. Or simply to just find enjoyment and peace in the absurdity.
For every lyric or sonic tweaking that doesn't fit, there's a melody, an arrangement, a vocalisation that is deeply beautiful. This is why I'm immeasurably excited for what's still to come from MS. And why it took me so long to find the right words to explain the feelings this EP evoked from me. Sorry guys!
Words of Karla Harris.