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Electronic - Released October 2, 2020 | Skint Records

2020 may not be the best year to publish an LP intended for the dancefloor, but Róisín Murphy is not the type to throw in the towel. This new album from the ex-singer of trip-hop duo Moloko, whose 1998 hit Sing It Back (and the epic remix by Herbert) will never be forgotten, is an extravaganza of fabulous disco/house that isn’t the most innovative but showcases the genre at its very best. The Irishwoman’s vocals are effortless and the production by Richard Barratt, aka DJ Parrot, a Sheffield native like Murphy herself and a true legend affiliated with FON Records and Warp Records, is flawless. Between the sensual and vintage disco opener Simulation, the perfectly muted base in I Want Something More, the eager bass in Shellfish and the wild Jealousy to close, everything is perfectly calibrated, refined and orchestrated. More than just stylish, Róisín Machine is a bundle of pure energy and this album is up there among the best of disco tunes from all eras. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Electronic - Released October 2, 2020 | Skint Records

In the years between 2007's Overpowered and 2015's Hairless Toys, Róisín Murphy issued a string of singles that were as excellent as her albums. "Simulation," a 2012 collaboration with producer Richard Barratt, was a particularly glittering highlight of that era. A swirl of mirror ball sparkles and dry ice fog, it spoke to Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder's transporting version of disco as well as Murphy's skill at sweeping listeners into a world of her own. It was a potent start to her collaboration with Barratt, who went on to craft similarly elegant music steeped in house and disco traditions as Crooked Man. On 2020's Róisín Machine, he and Murphy continue to bring out the best in each other. It only makes sense to start the album with the beginning of their long-simmering partnership: eight years later, "Simulation" remains as stunning as when it first appeared, with reflections upon reflections of Murphy's voice unfolding over its steady beat and pulsing synths. Though the track sets the tone for what follows, Róisín Machine never feels predictable. More than on some of her previous releases, Murphy winks at the playful artificiality that has been her trademark since the Moloko days. She's often seemed like she could be an android with her shape-shifting vocals and unexpected songwriting choices; only she would name a sultry track "Shellfish Mademoiselle," and only she could get away with it. Fortunately, this more straightforward approach doesn't detract from the power of her illusions. The gradual smoothing of her style that started on Overpowered and made Hairless Toys so gorgeously sophisticated attains a fittingly mechanical perfection on Róisín Machine. It's as seamless as a mix album, with a haziness that calls to mind the magic of the dancefloor on tracks like the ghostly "Game Changer." With Barratt's help, Murphy dives deeper than ever before into the disco and house roots that make up the foundations of her solo career, but even with a narrower focus, she finds a wide range of expression. On "Kingdom of Ends," she ascends to her rightful position as the empress of dance music on steeply rising synth strings that feel infinite. On "Narcissus," those strings become a nervy, restless loop as Murphy riffs on Greek mythology, one of many moments on Róisín Machine where she melds fantasies and club culture into songs that are as artful as they are kinetic. She's never sounded as velvety as she does on "Murphy's Law," her version of the classic disco trope of dancing through heartache, while the emotional complexity she brings to "Incapable" and "Jealousy" works with their driving beats, not against them. From start to finish, Róisín Machine is cohesive and spellbinding. Murphy truly is a machine in her consistent creativity, and this is a particularly well-oiled example of her brilliance. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released October 15, 2007 | Parlophone UK

Arty, cerebral, and sometimes downright kooky, Róisín Murphy zigs where other British pop singers zag. She's been one of pop's best-kept secrets since Moloko disbanded, edging her way toward a sound that isn't exactly mainstream but will give her the more widespread acclaim she deserves. For her first solo album, Ruby Blue, she collaborated with producer Matthew Herbert, who streamlined her sound into something creative but not gratingly quirky; even though "Rama Lama" ended up on So You Think You Can Dance, of all places, Ruby Blue wasn't quite a smash success. This time, Murphy teamed with Bugz in the Attic's Seiji, Groove Armada's Andy Cato, All Seeing I's Parrott & Dean, and Jimmy Douglass -- all forward-thinking producers, but with more conventionally pop sounds than Herbert's approach. Of course, by the late 2000s, even the most mainstream singles had at least a few unique production flourishes, so while Overpowered is without a doubt Murphy's most straightforward music yet, she hasn't sacrificed much to make it that way. With its sleek beats, bubbling synths, and nagging chorus, "Overpowered" closely resembles a state-of-the-art pop single, but the way Murphy sings of science and oxytocin over a heart-fluttering harp is unmistakably her. The rest of Overpowered follows suit, giving familiar sounds clever twists that will please longtime Murphy fans and win new ones. The effortless "You Know Me Better," "Let Me Know," and "Checkin' on Me" are chilly yet soulful, touching on disco, house, and '80s pop; "Movie Star" is Murphy's spin on Goldfrapp's glossy glam pop (and the only time she seems in danger of being overpowered by someone else's sound on the album). Even though these songs are immaculately crafted, there's plenty of life -- and Murphy's personality -- in them. "Primitive"'s synths and strings flit around like mosquitoes in a swamp as she wails "I need to let you out of your cage," while "Dear Miami"'s deadpan delivery and spare beats make it possibly the frostiest song ever written about global warming. Overpowered often feels less intimate than Ruby Blue, but that's a minor quibble, especially when "Scarlet Ribbons" shows off Murphy's tender side and the outstandingly crisp, bouncy, and sassy "Footprints" and "Body Language" rank with her best songs. Aptly enough for such a pop-focused album, nearly every song on Overpowered sounds like a potential smash hit. Even if this album is a bid for the big time, it's done with such flair that it just underscores what a confident and unique artist Murphy really is. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Dance - Released March 4, 2020 | Skint Records

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Electronic - Released May 11, 2015 | Play It Again Sam

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The release of a new Róisín Murphy album is always an event for fans of forward-thinking electronic pop, and even more so considering the eight-year gap between Overpowered and its follow-up, Hairless Toys. Along with starting a family, Murphy spent that time experimenting and collaborating; between all of her one-off singles, EPs, and cameos, she appeared on well over an album's worth of music. While most of that work felt like an extension of the disco-tinged sound that defined Ruby Blue and Overpowered, Hairless Toys opts for a more personal approach that is so powerful in part because it's so quiet. Even "Gone Fishing," which draws inspiration from the '80s ball culture immortalized in the documentary Paris Is Burning, is more breezy than brash as Murphy sings about "My mother's mistake/My father's heartbreak" in a voice just above a whisper. On the rest of Hairless Toys, she casts a similarly understated spell that feels significantly different from the shapeshifting she perfected with Moloko and on her first two solo albums. The effect is sophisticated but stays away from the artistic graveyard of tastefulness on "Evil Eyes," where an earworm melody and irresistible groove are bold but not flashy. Similarly, "Exploitation" could have easily been a three-minute single, but the way it unfolds in a sensuous nine-and-a-half-minute haze is more luxurious and ambitious. Since this is a Róisín Murphy album, there are still plenty of quirks -- note the blobby synth bass and waggish backing vocals on "Uninvited Guest" -- yet they don't detract from the meditative vibe. Interestingly, this cohesive mood allows more facets of her personality-packed voice to emerge. There's a newfound tenderness that feels descended from Mi Senti, Murphy's Italian-language EP that paid homage to singers such as Mina with a similar openness and vulnerability. She expands on it in fascinating and affecting ways, whether on the bruised title track, the nostalgia-free reminiscences of "House of Glass," or the gorgeous, aching "Exile," a dreamy bit of torchy twang that sounds like Dusty Springfield on Mars. "I'll be back with a vengeance," she purrs, and it's this kind of emotional complexity that makes Hairless Toys a welcome return and Murphy's most satisfying album yet. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 8, 2016 | Play It Again Sam

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Róisín Murphy kept fans waiting nearly a decade for new music when Hairless Toys arrived in 2015, which made the release of Take Her Up to Monto just over a year later all the more surprising. While many artists might coast for a while after releasing a comeback album, this is the kind of unexpected move that's quintessentially Murphy. Recorded during the same five-week sessions that resulted in Hairless Toys, Take Her Up to Monto often feels like that album's counterpart. "Mastermind," a disco epic that feels as vast as a galaxy, evokes Toys' massive, shape-shifting songs (as well as Murphy's 2012 marathon single "Simulation") in its sheer scope. And while "Whatever" may be the shortest song here, it shares the intimacy that made her previous album so striking. But where Hairless Toys was a seamless journey, this is a wilder ride. Murphy takes her listeners in different directions with little warning; "Thoughts Wasted," which morphs from sleek to lush to lamenting, feels like a microcosm of the album. Fortunately, Take Her Up to Monto is always engaging, even as she takes her signature sounds to extremes. The teasing, flamboyant sensuality of "Pretty Gardens" and whimsical electro-bossa nova of "Lip Service" hark back to her playful Moloko and Ruby Blue days, though her more understated vocals strike a different balance with the theatrical music than they did back in the day. She contrasts Monto's brassier moments with the much quieter but just as expressive "Nervous Sleep," a dreamy yet unsettled track that captures middle-of-the-night anxiety perfectly, and "Sitting and Counting," a meditation on love so whispery, it sounds like Murphy is singing it to herself. Even on more dynamic songs like "Ten Miles High," Take Her Up to Monto continues the more personal feel of her post-Mi Senti music (the album title even references the Dubliners hit that her father used to sing to her). As pop has become more eclectic, so has Murphy; even if it takes a little more effort to follow her on Monto, the results are worth it. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Chill-out - Released November 28, 2014 | The Vinyl Factory

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Pop - Released June 13, 2005 | Echo

As brilliant as Moloko could be -- on both their most eccentric and most conventionally pop moments -- their albums never quite jelled into something as uniformly great as Roisin Murphy's solo debut, Ruby Blue. By teaming up with producer Matthew Herbert, who remixed Moloko's "Sing It Back" back in the I Am Not a Doctor days, Murphy keeps the alluring sensuality and unpredictable quirks that made Moloko unique, without sounding like she's rehashing where she's already been. Both Murphy and Herbert are artists who are equally at home with the wildest and most accessible sounds (and especially when they bring those extremes together), so their reunion on Ruby Blue feels very natural, and gives the album a smoother, more organic sound than might be expected from a debut. Herbert's concept was to build the album around Murphy -- not just her gorgeous voice, but her life as well, and Ruby Blue reflects this with his skillful, witty use of environmental sounds throughout the album. Coughing, rustling, and other studio noise become a rhythm that in turn unfolds the gorgeously summery keyboards of "Through Time," while the more literal-minded "Dear Diary" surrounds Murphy with everyday noises like ringing telephones, buzzing doorbells, and what sounds like a ball bouncing on pavement. As quirky as the album might be -- and it doesn't get much quirkier than the spring-loaded, tribal rhythms of "Rama Lama" -- Ruby Blue never feels off-putting, because its flights of fancy are in service of the songs instead of distracting from them. The mix of '20s-style hot jazz and cool synths on the surreally sexy "Night of the Dancing Flame," the title track's elegant mischief, and "Sow Into You"'s crisp layers of vocals and brass are all mini-masterpieces of avant electronic pop. Indeed, the first two-thirds of Ruby Blue are almost too smooth, too perfectly realized to be the work of someone involved with a group as eccentric as Moloko was, so more experimental, unruly tracks like "Off on It" and "Prelude to Love in the Making" almost come as a relief (and act as a palate cleanser before Ruby Blue's striking piano ballad finale, "Closing of Doors"). As Murphy herself sings on "Through Time," "Could there be such a thing as beautifully flawed?" Ruby Blue flirts with perfection and settles for being the perfect start to the next phase of Roisin Murphy's career instead. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released June 5, 2019 | Skint Records

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Dance - Released April 17, 2020 | Skint Records

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Dance - Released April 4, 2008 | Parlophone UK

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Electronic - Released November 8, 2019 | Skint Records

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Electronic - Released July 8, 2016 | PIAS America

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 22, 2018 | The Vinyl Factory

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Electronic - Released September 6, 2019 | Skint Records

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Electronic - Released September 11, 2020 | Skint Records

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Electronic - Released July 31, 2020 | Skint Records

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House - Released November 29, 2019 | Skint Records

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House - Released October 19, 2018 | The Vinyl Factory

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2018 | The Vinyl Factory