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News: Roisin Murphy To Return After 8 Years With New Album ‘Hairless Toys’

3 min read

(AUS) Róisín Murphy’s first album in 8 years, Hairless Toys is a career defining tour de force; tipping its hat to the dark disco of European house music, Casablanca Records and Grace Jones, while seamlessly taking in the freedom and organic spirit of jazz, country and gospel. Hairless Toys is out 8th May and is available for pre-order here.

The rich, expansive production – by Roisin’s long time musical collaborator Eddie Stevens – is full of inventive loops and unlikely hooks, a grand magical spell exemplified by album opener ‘Gone Fishing.’ A song inspired by the film Paris Is Burning, where originality, invention and celebration are escapes from the ugly realities of the world around us, a place where “The practice of realness, feels so surreal”.

The genesis of Hairless Toys lies in last year’s Mi Senti EP. A release mainly of covers, all sung in Italian, a collaboration between Roisin, her partner Sebastiano Properzi and Eddie Stevens. This “very adult-orientated Disco”, channeling Edith Piaf through Studio 54, was a release that reminded us of Roisin’s creative free spirit with a voice and direction unmistakably her own.

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Recording Mi Senti had proved the time was right for a full length album with Eddie Stevens in the producer’s chair. Stevens has been Musical Director for all Roisin’s live work since 1997. She credits him with a kind of awakening “It’s Eddie who made me feel that I could really own this job. He helped me come to terms with who I was and what I was doing up there on stage, and I kinda feel that it`s only out of our strange but perfect chemistry that I became a live performer at all”.

The two spent five weeks last winter holed up in Eddie’s studio, a session resulting in some thirty songs, eight of which were selected for Hairless Toys. Five intense yet liberating weeks of writing, Roisin zooming through the thinking / scribbling / singing / break / thinking / scribbling / singing / break routine for hour upon hour with Eddie adding more synths, some percussion, a bit of guitar, and editing on the fly.

According to Murphy the choice of which songs to put where was straightforward. “To select just eight songs from the vast batch written last year required some pretty vigorous editing. The record could have been much longer but this seemed like just the right combination, and in fact the sequencing fell into place with more ease than any other album I’ve made.”

It begins with ‘Gone Fishing’ that chimes like the bells of a buoy bullied by tide, everything hanging from a two-note octave. The lyric written after watching Jennie Livingston`s “Paris Is Burning”, a study of race, class, gender and sexuality in America

Elsewhere ‘Evil Eyes,’ ‘Exploitation’ and ‘House of Glass’ provide the extended shake-outs essential to any of Roisin’s albums, while ‘Exile’ and ‘Unputdownable’ hide huge country soul hooks amidst their inventive structures. Sonically adventurous, Hairless Toys, embraces a broad palette of genres yet is consistently engaging and thrilling throughout. An exceptional return from an outstanding artist.