Roisin Murphy

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Ruby Blue (2005), 6.5/10
Overpowered (2007), 5/10
Hairless Toys (2015), 6/10
Take Her Up to Monto (2016), 4/10
Roisin Machine (2020), 5/10 [compilation]

Moloko, the duo of Irish singer-songwriter Roisin Murphy and electronic producer Mark Brydon, debuted with Do You Like My Tight Sweater? (1995) in a style bridging trip-hop and synth-pop. Their best singles were Fun for Me (1997), Sing It Back, off I Am Not a Doctor (1998), The Time Is Now, off Things to Make and Do (2000), and Familiar Feeling (2003), off Statues (2003).

Roisin Murphy debuted solo with Ruby Blue (2005), written and produced with experimental musician Matthew Herbert, famous for constructing songs out of found sounds. At best the songs evoke a futuristic, glitchy and jazzy cabaret: the distorted blues Ruby Blue and especially the surreal and tribal gospel chant Ramalama. But Sow into You points at a more commercial career on the dancefloor.

Abandoning the avantgarde pretense, Murphy opted for facile refrains and throbbing beats on Overpowered (2007), a parade of faceless synth-pop (Overpowered, You Know Me Better, Let Me Know) interrupted by even more faceless ballads (Dear Miami, Primitive, Scarlett Ribbons). The lone standout is the emphatic, anthemic and punkish Movie Star, one year before it became Lady Gaga's trademark style.

She spent the next few years releasing singles such as Orally Fixated (2009), Momma's Place (2010) and especially the eight-minute Simulation (2012), her best impersonation of Donna Summer yet.

After an eight-year hiatus, she returned with Hairless Toys (2015), produced by Eddie Stevens, that contains the nine-minute Exploitation, a downbeat hybrid of neosoul, house and funk.

Take Her Up to Monto (2016) collects leftover material recorded in the same sessions as the previous one, of which only Mastermind, with a Bee Gees-style disco break, is worth the trouble.

A few more singles filled the gap between this album and the next one: All My Dreams / Innocence (2018), Plaything / Like (2018), Jacuzzi Rollercoaster / Can't Hang On (2018), The Rumble / World's Crazy (2018), the tiptoeing disco-funk of Incapable (2019) and the whispered Narcissus (2019), her best imitation yet of the thumping and orchestral Italian disco of the 1980s.

Roisin Machine (Skint, 2020) collects some of these 2012-19 singles (Simulation, Incapable, Narcissus) and adds sultry neosoul ballads like Murphy's Law and the seven-minute Something More.

(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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