Listening to Roisin Murphy’s new album during a lockdown is a dangerous endeavour, as doing so leads to one, inevitable desire that is impossible to fulfil in the current climate… it makes you want to get on the dancefloor!
The brilliant rhyming name Róisín Machine is an apt one for an album of electronic collaborations with Sheffield legend DJ Parrott. The cover that depicts the captivating character of Murphy complete with a perm transports you straight back to the 80s, as indeed the entire album does.
Róisín Machine is the kind of album that is best heard thumping through a good set of speakers, although listening through headphones provides an alternative perspective, one which transported me into another world where I was inside the music, dancing with strobe lights flashing around me.
This feeling of losing yourself in the music is perhaps best personified by the album’s great opener; Simulation. Live bass played on top of the electronic beat gives the track a really nice feel. On the other hand, the track highlights an issue apparent throughout the album; one of repetitiveness. It is true this is a staple of electronic music, but the album fails to live up to the modern electronic doctrine that a new hook is needed every seven seconds. Despite this, electrifying basslines shine through on every track and gets you bopping along.
Heavy production and layering of Murphy’s vocals provide a wonderful ethereal feeling to the majority of the songs. In contrast, Murphy’s Law is the only song with a real identifiable chorus, where Murphy is speaking directly to you rather than simply accompanying your dancing.
As the name suggests, Game Changer has a real sense of drama to it, particularly due to more persistent vocals. With an amazing ending, this song would have been a great one to close the album with, but I’m not too sorry Narcissus follows it, thanks to its wonderfully funky bass and rhythm guitar.
As with any Moloko or Róisín Murphy album, Róisín Machine would be a great choice for a Friday or Saturday night, just watch out for ear fatigue!