On the second album from MS MR, the follow up to its 2013 debut, “Secondhand Rapture,” the New York duo continues to showcase the two sides of its musical personality. You might call those facets an exhalation and inhalation; “Leave Me Alone” is the latter, with vocalist Lizzy Plapinger affecting an introspective, seemingly wounded, and reserved mode — “please just leave me alone,” she sings over light touches of noir guitar licks and muted horns. The title track, on the other hand, is defiant and brashly expressive, with more upbeat production from Max Hershenow: the drums more prominent, the synth lines doing more of the melodic work. That danceability quotient defines much of the best material here, from opener “Painted” with its repeated, looping vocal and club-like energy, and “Reckless,” a bridge between the band’s upbeat and downbeat modes. Nothing here is quite as instantly engaging as MS MR’s breakthrough single, “Hurricane,” but the duo’s gaze remains trained on both the expanse of the horizon and the insularity of the internal drama. (Out Friday)
ESSENTIAL “Painted”Luke O’Neil can be reached at email@example.com.