First Glances – R Missing
R Missing are a pop/darkwave/triphop duo based out of New York. Not much is known except that vocalist Sharon Shy and musician Toppy used to be The Ropes, who were more of an indie-rock outfit albeit with a similar manifesto. I’m unclear whether the pair have called a halt to The Ropes, re-branded or just fancied a slight change of air. It matters little. The instruments may alter but the message remains loud and clear. R Missing are all about relationships, juxtapositions and contrast. When I say ‘relationships’, I don’t mean the boy-meets-girl type. I mean how things go together and, crucially, where they separate. The dividing line.
“No more happy people singing sad songs”
The Ropes: ‘Post Entertainment’
Latest EP, Unsummering, is haunting, seductive and catchy as hell. Sharon Shy’s material is heartfelt yet the delivery is clinical and dispassionate. Yet, if she’s aiming to sound clinical or bland, she fails. A lift here and a sigh there infuses her vocal with a sensual quality. During the preparation and upload of this article, I opened two webpages at one point and had the title track accidentally playing in a ’round’. It was fucking incredible.
The other half of the equation, Toppy appears to fulfill the Chris Lowe/Dave Ball role in R Missing. The Pet Shop Boys are a decent reference actually, in that R Missing use ‘simple’ pop vehicles to convey an important or, at times, quite subversive message. ‘Kerry Was a Philistine’ evokes a Lowlife-era New Order (‘Subculture’) vibe. The rest of the EP displays a more hazy, retro-futurist sound. Comparisons with The Knife are valid and I’d throw in Dubstar, Insides and, for those old enough to remember, Pink Industry. When I listened to them online, YouTube queued up Majical Cloudz and Chapel Club, which both made perfect sense to me in ways I could never explain (with words). Saint Etienne might also be distant cousins but as R Missing themselves put it – You won’t find love songs here. You’ll find unloved songs. You won’t find summer, you’ll find Unsummering.
One of our girls has gone missing.