Album Review: Roisin Murphy – ‘Roisin Machine’

Roisin Murphy - Roisin Machine - Artwork

IN ANOTHER, more enlightened plane of existence, the world lauds Roisin Murphy as a famed cultural icon with a string of hit albums, maybe with a prime-time talk show, international fashion house and probable appointment as Culture Secretary … heck, why not make that PM too? Unfathomably, in our particular tangent of reality that hasn’t come to pass; yet. 

Roisi has always appeared to do precisely what she wants and how. That maverick outlook has produced an incredible output of music over the past 25 years; from her first movements in ahead-of-their-time Moloko, including bona fide dance anthem “Sing It Back“, through to her faultless but inexplicably unvalued Matthew Herbert-produced debut solo album Ruby Blue, and what should’ve been genuine hit contender “Overpowered”.

Over the past few years there’s been a torrent of new music: an EP of songs in Italian; the Mercury-nominated album, Hairless Toys, and the following year’s Take Her Up To Monto; an EP series with The Vinyl Factory, a couple of standout appearances on DJ Koze’s album Knock Knock, and a steadily spaced set of singles that have lead to the release of her new powerhouse long player. 

With this Friday’s release of Roisin Machine, the world hopefully gets to witness a genuine star getting the attention – both critically and popularly – she rightfully deserves. Roisin Machine is a focused collection of agile anthems steeped in underground disco and house music. Produced with long-term collaborator and dance music pioneer Richard Barratt – aka DJ Parrot, aka Crooked Man – there’s a perfect balance between drama, art, soulful storytelling, introspection and innovation; braced with an encyclopedic standard of dance music bangers. 

Bookending the album are the two oldest tracks on the record: killer opener “Simulation”, originally released in 2013, and the hi-energy closer “Jealousy”, a 2015 single with Crosstown Rebels. Despite their distance, neither feel remotely out of place – quite the opposite.

The other singles – “Incapable”, “Narcissus”, “Murphy’s Law”, “Something More”; a golden run of disco hits or what? – all stand up on their own but again also fit in with the overarching narrative of this album. “We Got Together” is another genuine disco-techno banger, while “Kingdom Of Ends” is an exercise in delayed gratification, teasingly building to a drop that never comes; whereas “Game Changer” is all seductive groove and soulful whispers. 

If you’ve caught any of her impromptu lockdown videos from home earlier this year, or more recently the stunning ‘Something More’ in residence in Ibiza, you’ll have witnessed Murphy’s undoutbted passion for music, dance, performance and fun (virtually) up close. It’s still tangible; even through YouTube. A defiantly pumped fist of confidence followed by a high kick of elation, ‘Roisin Machine’ is wonderful to behold and an antidote to quite literally everything else in 2020. Savour it.

‘Roisin Machine’ is released on October 2nd by Skint/BMG

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1 Comment

  1. October 5, 2020

    This is my favourite album of 2020 so far!

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