Its been a long time. Eight years in fact since Roisin Murphy’s last album, but now she’s back with a new record, Hairless Toys, out via Play it Again Sam on May 12th. From it she’s released a taster (not a single, she’s at pains to explain) in the shape of album opener ‘Gone Fishing’.
Explaining the song, Murphy said – “This song was written after I watched the documentary film Paris Is Burning, having read an article which referenced it in a discussion about House music’s origins in black, gay culture. I was deeply moved by this film. ‘I had to run this far from home’ – it’s about the outcasts who could never fit into mainstream society and how they created a safe place in the drag ‘Ball’ scene of New York in the ’80s. “Will we live on? The children of La Beija” refers to the ‘house’ of Pepper La Beija, who was one of the most notable figures on the scene, Pepper is also quoted in Malcolm McLaren’s song on the same subject ‘Deep In Vogue’. The culture was a flamboyant reaction to persecution and disillusionment, the imagination and bravery of these kids is simply awe-inspiring. I envisioned ‘Gone Fishing’ almost as a song from a Broadway musical version of this story. The making of one’s own world, a safer world and the creation of a new, better family in music or youth culture is a theme I touch upon elsewhere on my album Hairless Toys.”
Gone Fishing opens with these African sounding bells an octave apart, heralding this hazy, electro soul driven track, Murphy’s half whispered, but strangely angelic vocal immediately grabbing your attention, as the synths rumble and trip onwards, scattering their wares liberally underneath. It continues to unfurl though, more and more layers added as it grows into something that’s at the same time head nodding and fragile. Lets be fair, Roising Murphy could sing everything on the same note and it would sound great, but this is worthy material.
Its been worth the wait.