The 2010s were a golden renaissance for indie pop. Among the countless dark wave and alternative rock bands that got big during that time, there was NYC duo MS MR, whose massive 2013 hit “Hurricane” became utterly inescapable. Dreamy and darkly addictive, that song propelled the act to the global stages of Coachella and SXSW as they became defining fixtures of that era. Now, a decade down the line, MS MR are putting a close to that chapter. On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the band announced that they’ve officially broken up, but not without releasing one final song.
In a joint press statement, members Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow said that now just felt “like the right time” to finally bring the band to a formal end, while also “celebrating and thanking our fans and each other for such an exciting and meaningful time in our lives.”
MS MR had been on a seven-year hiatus since 2016; the timing of their breakup also comes at an auspicious, full-circle moment for the band. This year marks exactly 10 years since the release of the band’s celebrated debut album Second Rapture, which included the hit singles “Hurricane,” “Fantasy,” and “Think Of You.”
“Secondhand Rapture took us from creative dreamers to realized artists, from small hometown shows in New York to venues, festivals, and radio stations all over the world,” reads their statement. “Looking back, it’s clear that MS MR taught us to trust our instincts and vision, and to meet those impulses with play, curiosity, and dedication. That ethos has gone on to be a crucial blueprint for each of us in our own work and lives.”
As their final hurrah, MS MR is departing with one final release: “Saturn Return,” an expansive, cosmic-sounding creation that summons the band’s familiar dreamy pop energy and sounds less like the end of something and more like the beginning of something new. And like every great, nostalgic goodbye, it also arrives with a music video that collages memories from their decade-long career together, playing shows and festivals from NYC to Tokyo.
As a bonus, the band also dropped off a sparkling cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta,” another symbolic homage to the song covers that initially helped form the band. “Covers have always been an integral part of MS MR,” they said in a statement. “The first song we ever recorded was a version of ‘Time of my Life’ by Patrick Wolf, which helped give us the language and confidence to explore making original music of our own. Once we started playing live, we regularly incorporated covers like LCD Soundsystem's ‘Dance Yrself Clean,’ Arctic Monkeys' ‘Do I Wanna Know,’ and Miike Snow's ‘Genghis Khan’ into our sets. They’ve always been a source of play and connection for us, and a chance to connect with fans over music we all love.”
Although MS MR has come to a close, Plapinger and Hershenow assure that this isn’t the end of creative partnership together. “We’re excited and committed to continuing to be a part of one another's personal and creative lives,” they said. “So while this is the end of the band, it’s not the end of our collaboration on each other's work as LPX and alexmaax.”
As we send off MS MR, revisit “Hurricane” here, and read the band’s full statement below:
“When we realized we were coming up on the ten-year anniversary of our first album, “Secondhand Rapture,” we knew we wanted to do SOMETHING. It felt like the right time to finally bring the band to a formal end while also celebrating and thanking our fans and each other for such an exciting and meaningful time in our lives. We made “Secondhand Rapture," mostly in secret, in Max’s closet-turned-studio in Bed-Stuy during the hours before and after our day jobs. While it was eventually mixed at the legendary Electric Lady Studios by Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Florence, Arcade Fire, LCD etc) and released on Columbia Records, the album was originally written and recorded by the two of us on a cheap mic and laptop for just $500. It was born from friendship, creative naïveté, a shared love of pop music, and the hum of anxiety induced by a sense of impending apocalypse (little did we know the degree to which that would escalate in the years to come). “Secondhand Rapture” took us from creative dreamers to realized artists, from small hometown shows in New York to venues, festivals and radio stations all over the world.
Looking back, it’s clear that MS MR taught us to trust our instincts and vision, and to meet those impulses with play, curiosity, and dedication. That ethos has gone on to be a crucial blueprint for each of us in our own work and lives.
With an enormous amount of gratitude, we’re ready to move on from the MS MR project – we've each developed into new people with expanded ambitions, interests and tastes. But we’re excited and committed to continuing to be a part of one another's personal and creative lives. So while this is the end of the band, it’s not the end of our collaboration on each other's work as LPX and alexmaax. Our new, final single “Saturn Return” is a promise of that.
We hope this last musical offering as MS MR gives you the sense of joy and closure it brought us. Thank you for letting us into your lives – it changed the course of ours forever.”