The Return of the Queen of Avant-Garde Dance

Avon Calling

She is back with her first full length album since 2016’s Take Her Up to Monto with Róisín Murphy releasing album number five on September 25 entitled Róisín Machine.


Róisín Murphy is an artist that always surprises. After having a successful career with the band Moloko, the band dissolved after the release of Statues in 2004. But during their reign they produced an array of wonderful songs such as “Indigo”, “Sing It Back”, “The Time Is Now”, “Fun For Me” and “Familiar Feeling”.

In 2005 Murphy marked her debut with Ruby Blue – an ambitious piece of work that sonically meshed the avant-garde with electronic beats and dream like sounds. An album that never feels safe, but highlights the nature of Murphy to create music that can not be defined into a singular category. In 2007 Murphy released Overpowered – a euphoric pop dance tour-de-force – this album should have sold in the bucket loads – an album of pop songs with an adult sensibility mixed with catchy hooks and incredibly danceable. An album that consisted of perfect pop songs imbuing a feeling of an out-of-control disco swirling into an emotional heap. The strong set of singles were coupled with Murphy’s idiosyncratic and cutting edge fashion style. The album was wonderfully produced, but like everything Murphy does, she seemed to be ahead of the times – cue the array of artists that now seem to try and emulate what Murphy was doing back in 2007.

Róisín modelling at the Hairdressing Academy, circa 1988.

Hairless Toys

After a lengthy hiatus of eight years, which was either due to the less than expected sales of Overpowered (where anecdotally Murphy famously had a tense relationship with EMI Records) or the responsibilities of motherhood, Murphy released the brilliant Hairless Toys in 2015. An album mixing the avant-garde again with the feeling of the unhinged. This is evidenced by the brilliant videos echoing a vibe of 1981 with Murphy on the verge of a nervous breakdown – including trying to get her husband’s attention in the “Evil Eyes” video by trying to set his bum on fire whilst in bed! Murphy always having a knack of getting into the head of her characters – which makes for an equally disturbing and humorous experience. Take Her Up To Monto, which was recorded during the same sessions as Hairless Toys was released in 2016 – the album was equally as brilliant, complex, and uncompromising as you would expect from Murphy. These albums are almost like companion pieces to each other, delving deeper and deeper into these tracks is a wonderful experience – at different turns scary, heart wrenching and fun.

One of the surprises in Murphy’s career was 2014’s EP Mi Senti, where Murphy covers some classic Italian pop songs – even though she doesn’t speak the language, she phonetically learned the words – but delivers the songs with a sense of drama where the emotionality is felt in her performances as if she was a native speaker. An original track “In Sintesi” is a highlight.

What I did in isolation photo shoot – the cover of the new album

Róisín Machine

The new album, Róisín Machine, sees Murphy collaborating with long term collaborator Crooked Man aka DJ Parrot. The album contains the already available singles “Simulation”, “Jealousy”, “Incapable”, “Narcissus” and “Murphy’s Law” – brilliant songs embracing disco, camp, shades of Millie Jackson, funk, and all swirled around in that idiosyncratic Murphy style encompassing fun, humour and a strong beating unhinged disco heart. Again she doesn’t make things safe, but at the same time the album will coerce you to dust out your disco ball and flashing strobe and dance your little ISO hearts to wild abandon. You have no choice!

Róisín Machine is to be released on September 25th (Skint/BMG)

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