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Róisín Murphy - Róisín Machine (Album Review)

Wednesday, 07 October 2020 Written by Huw Baines

Photo: Adrian Samson

There is a fascinating push-pull at the heart of ‘Róisín Machine’—we are at once observing a studious, meticulously-researched attempt to assemble a perfect dancefloor confection, and at the same time being invited to lose ourselves in its sinuous grooves and gossamer melodies.

After almost 30 years in the game, both with Moloko and as a solo artist, Róisín Murphy has a fairly unique vantage point from which to mount such an experiment, and both avenues offer exciting results. “Basically, I’m JG Ballard sex-pop,” she recently told the Independent, and she’s pretty much nailed it.

Beginning with Simulation’s circular grooves and repeated “This is a simulation” sci-fi disco mantra, Murphy mashes together songs perhaps better suited to long-form exploration on a white label 12" with florid, ruthlessly executed hooks derived from years as an outsider pop mainstay.

After arriving at the crossroads of artistic impulse and mainstream success a couple of decades back, she has never lost sight of how being a weirdo helps to up the ante.

In tandem with producer DJ Parrot (or Crooked Man or Richard Barratt) Murphy has plotted a course from Sing it Back’s game-changing remix reinvention to the present day, via a clutch of songs released in recent years and repurposed to bolster the running order here. Simulation is one of them (dating back to 2012), the magnificently over the top funk meltdown closer Jealousy another.

The ease with which they sit in these new surroundings points to both Murphy’s long game and the extent to which she and Barratt have the basics down. At a time when disco is both a critical hot button and major chart currency again (see Dua Lipa’s massive success on both sides of the aisle with ‘Future Nostalgia’) they have interrupted the conversation with something off-kilter, smart and eminently hip-shaking.

Roisin Murphy Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat November 14 2020 - VIRTUAL EVENT Unknown Venue
Tue September 14 2021 - GLASGOW SWG3
Thu September 16 2021 - BATH Bath Forum
Fri September 17 2021 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy
Sun September 19 2021 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton

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