Roisin Murphy 2007

It’s New Year's eve, a time to reflect on the past year. Where Roisin Murphy The Artist is concerned there’s quite a bit to reflect on. Let’s do that briefly…

The story of Roisin’s life as an artist in 2007 really begins somewhere in 2006. During a one-off Moloko reunion to promote Catalogue, a compilation of the band’s hits, Roisin announced that she was working on a new album, due for release in 2007. Roisin spent most of 2006 and early 2007 writing and recording the album in London, Miami and Barcelona. About 30 songs were recorded with a wide range of writers and producers. If anyone was expecting anything like Ruby Blue, her acclaimed 2005 debut solo album, they were wrong.

The release of Roisin’s new album was finally announced in the spring. Though the autumn release date was quite far away at the time, the album’s title track and first single Overpowered had already appeared on Roisin’s MySpace when the announcement was made. It was an instant favourite of fans and critics alike. The promotional pictures released by EMI, Roisin’s new label after leaving Echo, showed a sophisticated blonde diva posing in her garden or cuddling her dog Charlie in the park.

Early July, Overpowered was released as a single – as a digital download on the 2th and physically on the 9th. Various dance remixes were made, but the original version of the song and the two b-sides gave away what Roisin had in store with her new album. While Overpowered was a masterpiece of cool synthesizer pop, clearly inspired by the 1980s, the groovy Sweet Nothings had a distinct R&B flavour. Foolish on the other hand was pure disco. One thing was clear: for Ms Murphy it was time to dance!

So musically Roisin had moved in a more poppy direction. Visually though, she still had a lot of quirk to offer. On the cover of the Overpowered single, Roisin is depicted wearing an elaborate ensemble by the Dutch designers Victor & Rolf while doing her grocery shopping on a suburban high street. In the video for the same song she is sitting on a London bus wearing a Gareth Pugh outfit that could make someone look overdressed onstage. The whole concept seemed to be about art meeting everyday life. For Roisin herself it was about “the tension between the off-stage and on-stage persona”.

Leading up to the album’s release on October 15, Let Me Know was released as a single, an anthem about hedonism and casual sex. Musically it clearly took inspiration from early 1990s house music. In the song’s video, Roisin pops into a breakfast café dressed in a quircky Martin Margiela outfit. Before she is served her ‘full English’ she dances her way through the place. None of the café’s clients seem to even notice her. What is more (sur)real, everyday life or Roisin creating her “private disco” in a café? That’s the question she seems to be asking herself and her audience.

When the Overpowered album was finally released it proved to be a success with fans and critics. Though some missed the ‘artiness’ of Ruby Blue, a negative review was hard to come by. The standout tracks on Overpowered were the first two singles, You Know Me Better, Primitive and Tell Everybody.

To promote the album, Roisin extensively toured the UK, her native country Ireland and the European mainland. On stage, she brought the Overpowered disco experience to life in a show of nearly two hours. Roisin described the show as “a party from start to finish”. In October she had an unfortunate stage accident in Moscow. She was forced to cancel some of her gigs but was back on the road in less than a week.

What does Roisin Murphy The Artist have in store for us in 2008? Well, there’s the release of another single, You Know Me Better, scheduled for February. She may also perform at summer festivals and do some shows in the US. Who knows, the album might even be released there and bring Roisin global stardom. Whatever the case may be, I’m convinced Roisin will continue to create and inspire. Isn’t that what true artistry is all about?

Please feel free to leave your comments about Roisin in 2007 and your expectations for 2008.


Hear, hear!

Maybe it's about time EMI did some marketing and Roisin did some touring in the US. This is The Best Music of 2007, as chosen by Reasonoids:

I don't like to bitch about this or that musician not getting the fame they deserve, but I don't understand how Roisin Murphy hasn't broken through stateside. She writes hooky electro-pop at least as catchy as anything by Gwen Stefani or Rihanna or Robyn, but with smart-assed, Stephin Merrit-style lyrics. From this album's title track:

As science struggles on to try to explain
Oxytocin's flowing ever into my brain

So there's that, there's her Alison Moyet-on-a-diet voice, there's her stunning good looks, and her willingess to obscure said looks by dressing like an insect or an opera clown. For this record she put some of her quirks on the shelf and hired pure pop producers who supply shockingly catchy dance track after shockingly catchy dance track, in a plenitude of styles: I didn't know electro-glam existed, but that's what "Movie Star" is.


Clash feature - part 2

A few days ago, this blog brought you part 1 one of Roisin's interview with Clash magazine. Now get ready for the second part. There's also some more of those gorgeous pictures...

Keep it Loose – Part 2

A longstanding advocate of quirk, Murphy has often been lauded as a leftfield style icon. Modelling for Vivienne Westwood in 2005’s Fashion Rocks, her sartorial get-ups have been consistently glamorous and cutting-edge. For Overpowered’s album sleeves and video Murphy enlisted previous collaborator Scott King, former art director at i-D and Sleaze Nation. She leans forward excitedly when talk turns to art direction and costumes – a passion that now, with more money in tow, Murphy can fully explore. For Overpowered, the “tension between the off-stage and on-stage persona” was the visual narrative. “I love being a performer and I embrace it completely,” Murphy affirms. “I love the mythology of performance and the magic of it, but I would like to break down some of the myths of what happens when I walk off the stage and who I am, and show the juxtaposition between those two.”

So Roisin is shot on a busy suburban high street dressed in extravagant Viktor and Rolf ensemble, attached to a lighting rig blaring spotlights across her face, as she hold plastic shopping bags, “like I’ve just been to Iceland for me tea. There’s one where I’m in the pub and one where I’m in the cafe in a red knitted avant-garde costume.”

The need to prove she’s in touch with the “normal people” could seem a little condescending, but Roisin is hardly a princess. On the contrary, she’s down to earth, headstrong and roguish, with a fiery Irish streak that has had unsuspecting stylists shaking in their boots. As one poor sucker discovered upon suggesting an asymmetric hairdo for her video.

“I live as far away from all that asymmetric hair as you could possible get!” Murphy exclaims, still flabbergasted at the suggestion. “So I went into our library, pulled out 25 books of film stars and photography, and showed them exactly what I wanted. Has anyone else got any more references? No? Good, well let’s go with my idea then.”

A force to be reckoned with, but why mess with a good thing? Roisin has independently cultivated a aesthetic, recently finding inspiration in 30’s and 40’s styles and Katherine Hepburn – another fiery performer. Using clothes from a gamut of new and established designers, in her self-styled video for Overpowered she sported London designer du jour Gareth Pugh’s cyber extravagance.

“I don’t wear that stuff in a fashion way, I wear it like a performer,” Murphy insists. “I wear it a jaunty angle, thrown on with absolute irreverence and that’s they way it should be for me. It brings a bit of humanity and that’s what people relate to.”

Style queen she may be, maintaining a connection with her audience is Murphy’s main concern. But after twelve years in the business, having carved a reputation as an artist who breaks the mould, does Roisin Murphy still strive to push the boundaries?

“I’ve always tried to stretch myself. There’s an innate boredom within me, a consequence of that boredom is experimentalism. I’m bored most of the time, so I find challenges. The challenge on this one was not to be too experimental, because I am natural curious, but to work with new people and to retain a naivety through all the high production.”

DIY albums of 2007

Albums of 2007: #16 Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
When her first solo album 'Ruby Blue''s experimental odyssey was a little too much for casual fans of her former band Moloko, it looked like Roisin Murphy might be forever sidelined as just 'a bit of an eccentric', a woman who'd turned her back on Moloko's disco-pop sheen in favour of impenetrable jazzy noodling and someone who'd be just as happy banging out a tune on a wheelie bin rather than being an amazing popstar. This year she turned it round, however, with the stunning 'Overpowered' - ditching the 'challenging' (albeit still impressive) elements of her previous solo excursions and going all-out shameless electropop.

And it succeeded. The critics loved it, casual music buyers loved it, even snooty blog-hipsters loved it inbetween feverishly masturbating over embryonic buzz bands like Black Kids. She's now well on her way to becoming Britain's answer to Bjork: iconic, risk-taking, constantly changing and striking the balance between aloof experi-pop cool, all-out accessibility and real longevity.

'Overpowered' is a joy from start to finish - taking in icy cold electronica (the title track), sultry piano-led discofunk ('Let Me Know'), breathy pop stompers ('You Know Me Better', 'Cry Baby') and anything else Murphy and her array of hip producers fancied chucking in. It's an album that knowingly lifts elements from 70s, 80s, and 90s electro but it's testament to Roisin's artistry that it sounds fresh, horrifically exciting and totally bloody essential.

From DYI.


Clash magazine feature

A few months ago, Roisin was interviewed and photographed for an exclusive feature in UK magazine Clash. In the first part of the interview she talks about Moloko, Ruby Blue and recording Overpowered...

Keep it Loose – Part 1

“I’ve come full circle with how I’ve performed and who I am. I think I will do the best performances of my life on this record because this will be one that people sing an dance along to.”

Roisin Murphy may have recently retreated into suburban life, but she has just aptly described an atmosphere that encapsulates all my memories of her former band Moloko live. It seems accurate that this fiery woman would make every performance her best yet.

My first Moloko gig was in 1993. A backpacking gap year adventure had brought me to Berlin and Murphy and her then partner Mark Brydon’s debut album Do You Like My Tight Sweater had been my soundtrack to the previous year. That their show blew me away is an understatement; I’d never witnessed a leftfield singer perform with such passion and dynamism and connect to strongly with an audience. When Roisin lost her voice towards the end of their set that night, she was hugely apologetic. Walking past her on our way out, she croaked to us: “I’m so sorry!” Still reeling from her performance, I was well and truly won over.

Roisin remembers that gig – the awesome but deathly cold venue that had given her voice a beating, her stage-antics, with “all that mad robotic stuff” and now famed flamboyance. She once cringed at these early displays of showmanship, “I was really embarrassed because it just looked like I was hiding.” Now Roisin sees her performances as “brilliantly naïve” and “poppy in a way that wasn’t back then.” She reflects: “Not that I think it blew the world apart but it was ahead of its time.”

Six years later I saw Moloko heading a summer outdoor festival in Sydney. The due were touring Statues, the first and last album they’d made a friends rather than lovers. With massive hits The Time is Now and Sing it Back on every club compilation and turntable that past year they has the entire audience singing along euphorically as the sun went down. Roisin’s performances has evolved to become more extravagant and even less restrained. With a broken arm in low and costume changes throughout, she swooped across the stage in a McQueen dress and Dior feather headdress, and at the crescendo, designer gear and broken arm forgotten, she stunned the ecstatic audience by stage diving into the crowd.

Now 32, with her sixth album – her second as a solo artist – about to come out, a more mature yet nonetheless playful Murphy sits across from me in a swanky Soho bar, sipping Bellinis and crackling in recollection at her antics. Would she say she is extrovert?

“Probably, I didn’t desperately clamour to be what I am though,” she states defiantly. “I accidentally became a singer and I accidentally discovered that I could put all these things together and it took me a long time to get it all going at the same rate.”

The famed story of Moloko’s formation begins with the feisty Murphy sidling up to Brydon with the pick-up line: “Do you like my tight sweater, see how it fits my body.” They promptly went to his studio and at her insistence recorded it to music, six months on it became the title track of their debut album.

“I was 18. I didn’t know I could sing,” Murphy recounts. “I got signed because I said “Do you like my tight sweater see how it fits my body” on a track. I did fuck all singing. Everybody sings in Ireland and any and every event. When I was 9 I learned Don’t Cry For Me Argentina for my mum. They all went, ‘She’s got a voice! She’s the same as Elaine Page!’”

It’s a sensitive subject to broach, obviously Murphy and Brydon’s relationship ended, what was the breaking point with Moloko?

“There wasn’t really a breaking point, we broke up and then we made a record and toured it for a year and a half. We played to massive venues, had a great time and left it on good terms. People think how was that possible? But, you know, even on a small bus you don’t have to sit next to each other every day!”

At this Roisin chuckles. Cheerfully coarse in a very Irish way, she inserts haphazard ‘Fuckin’s’ for emphasis. Her appearance, however, is demure in a green shift dress paired with Chanel heels. She promises she doesn’t normally doll up for interviews, but she and her boyfriend, artist Simon Henwood, are off to the Royal Academy summer exhibition private view afterwards – a red carpet affair where they intent to purchase some works to add to their collection. The couple met when Henwood painted her for the cover of Ruby Blue, her first solo album. They now share “a very large house in suburbia” where they walk their dog every morning, garden and covet a library of 25,000 books. “It’s brilliant. You get up in the morning, have your cup of coffee, my boyfriend will pull out a book and open it in front of me at something wonderful. He loves to do that and I love him to do that.”

She gushes for a moment and it’s obvious she thoroughly enjoys this world, far removed from the sweaty clubs and stadium tours of yore. Will her new album reflect a more mature phase of her life?

“No, actually I’ve really tried to be as naïve and pure as I could be on this record,” she tells me resolute. “I love that sound of youth in dance music. It doesn’t have to be too clever.”

Clever was where Ruby Blue sat. With experimental maestro Matthew Herbert steering her first venture into solo territory, Murphy and Herbert utilised everything and the kitchen sink to produce sounds for the eccentric electro epic. “I had to bring a different object in every day,” Murphy recalls, smiling. “He was a good teacher.”

Two years on, she’s had a label change (to EMI), travelled the world for 8 months recording her second album, Overpowered, and finally given birth to a pure pop opus. Enlisting the production genius of Andy Cato of Groove Armada and Seji from Bugz in the Attic, both used their respective skills to real her sound back into the neu- disco realm that Moloko once ruled, while Scottish upstart Calvin Harris (Kylie’s current producer) also worked with Murphy on two tracks that didn’t make the cut. Was her choice of producers a conscious effort to move into a more commercial dance sphere?

“Dance music has not been in the mainstream for a long time, so they can’t be that commercially successful,” she claims. “It wasn’t a decision based on commercial success, but utter compatibility. Dance music is not on the radio right now, but there are actually hundreds of thousands of people who go out every weekends to clubs dancing.”

In part 2, Roisin talks about fashion.


The final Elle outtakes

No, it isn't Kylie

Not Kylie Minogue's, but Roisin Murphy's latest studio album was chosen as the best album of 2007 by UK gay monthly Attitude. Congratulations Roisin!


Acoustic on YouTube

Remember this post? The videos of Roisin's acoustic performances on Music Control of Let Me Know and Movie Star can now be found on YouTube...

Reissued live CD track listing

This is the track listing of the reissued live recording of Roisin's Ancienne Belgique show:

CD 1
Cry Baby
You Know Me Better
Checkin' on Me
Dear Miami
Sow Into You
Movie Star
Scarlett Ribbons
The Truth

Forever More
Let Me Know
Tell Everybody
Ramalama (Bang Bang)

*Note that the iTunes bonus track Pandora, which was performed at the show, is not included.


Shangay Express interview

Agustín Gómez Cascales kindly sent me his interview with Roisin from the Spanish magazine Shangay Express. He also interviewed Roisin for El Mundo newpaper.

Concert Live recording to be reissued

A while ago I reported that the Concert Live recording of Roisin's 19/11 gig in Brussels did not include the songs Dear Miami, Movie Star, Pandora, Overpowered, and Ramalama (Bang Bang).

After some speculation about the songs being future b-sides, it now appears an error was made and that the songs should have been included on the set.

The following messages was posted on Roisin's official MySpace:

Some of you who have been to the live shows may have noted that the live tour CD was missing a few tracks from the set. As such, Concert Live are going to re-issue it to those who have purchased copies. The new CDs will be sent out to you free of charge and will contain ALL the content from the recent live shows.

If you have got a live CD set already and would like to register to have a new one sent out, please contact Concert Live directly so they can arrange for your replacement to be sent to you.

If you log onto their website at www.concertlive.co.uk and follow the contact link, you can send a message to their customer services who will respond and let you know when to expect your new CDs.


More from Barcelona

Another great picture of Roisin's show in Barcelona. You can see plenty more on FLaViO's MySpace blog.

Outtake #5

Elle outtake #5 - one more to go.

Deeply, subtly wonderful

For better or worse, we all change our mind sometimes...

How many songs are released in the UK each year? 25 million? Perhaps that a slight exaggeration, but it certainly feels like it sometimes and it's particularly difficult to have an opinion on all of them.

Most songs are plain alright, neither offensive nor life-changing, but as a reviewer you are sometimes forced to yay or nay about a track you'd be happy to pass no judgement on whatsoever. And when this happens, well, sometimes you get things wrong.

I judged Overpowered by ex-Moloko frontwoman Roisin Murphy to have "possibly the best use of synth a pop song has had for a very long time" but, at base, just "yet another attempt at post-trip-hop subtlety that's (sadly) likely to be consigned to background listening only". I was wrong: This song is deeply, subtly wonderful. Given a bit of time and repeated listening, you start to notice how Murphy's explanation of love as a scientific reaction beyond rational control is carefully enhanced by the sultry arch of her voice and her economical lyrics ("my data, your data") which culminate in the statement: "When I think I'm over you, I'm overpowered". Roisin, consider yourself un-dismissed.

From scenta.co.uk/Guardian Unlimited


QOOB TV interview

This is part one of a QOOB TV interview with Roisin.

You can view the other parts on the QOOB TV website, including a candid clip of Roisin just before the interview.

Metro: One-woman extravaganza

UK newspaper Metro lists Roisin's latest album as one of the best released in the past year:

Another entertainer with dazzling DIY flair is former Moloko singer Róisín Murphy, whose second solo album Overpowered (EMI) was funky in all senses – skittering from glacial electro to hi-NRG disco, boosted by her seductively versatile vocals. Top tunes from a one-woman extravaganza.

We're all the same in this cynical age

Blog reader Filip Galetic sent me his thoughts on Roisin's song Let Me Know. I think they make an interesting read indeed.

Anyone who has ever been to a gay circuit party with gorgeous shirtless muscled guys filling the floor - the kind where everyone greets each other with a quick kiss on the mouth and where a dull chick rock song from the 90s gets a swooping makeover into a house anthem – should recognize what Roisin Murphy is singing in "Let Me Know".

The artist herself credits the inspiration for the song to spending nights out in hedonistic Barcelona among the swingy crowds where connections are intense and brief. There she saw certain "darkness underneath", a certain "glossing over the truth".

And this very sentiment, this essence of how the club scene operates, has to my knowledge never been put into words and music before "Let Me Know". "Don't speak out every meaning/I don't belong to you/Like you don't belong to me" may as very well be an adage straight from a "Dummies for Gay Circuit Clubbing".

These very lines echo the voice in your head that stops you from declaring love to the guy you are chatting with or asking him to marry you. And the fact that she has tapped into this very real part of many lives, while being coy about it in interviews, makes Roisin a truly one-of-a-kind artist in pop music, an echelon in recent times littered with empty self-touting and lack of meaning.

El Mundo interview

Those of you who master the Spanish language should head over to the El Mundo website to read an interview with Roisin. Click here to read it.

Thanks to Agustín Gómez Cascales, author of the El Mundo article and editor of Shangay Express, for bringing this to my attention.


Barcelona gig

A picture of Roisin's gig in Barcelona, courtesy of "x-tanis". This is what blog reader ".koz" has to say about the show:

hey there bloggers and Roisin fans...
Friday 14 Dec. saw her live in Barcelona
and it was theeeeeeeeeeee best concert EVER!!
sound quality band music dancing clothes

and the crowd was ALIVE and Kicking!!!
thanx .xxx.xxx.xxx

The history of philosophy and of human folk

Roisin spoke to Ciara Dwyer of the Irish Independent about life on the road, being a virgin and the history of philosophy and of human folk:

I live in London most of the time, but sometimes I live in Ireland. If I'm in the countryside, down in Wicklow, I might not get up until 11am. It's absolutely quiet there and it's pitch black because we've got these blackout blinds; it's almost womb-like. But on a normal day I get up at 9.30am. I live with my boyfriend, Simon Henwood. I'll roll on down and go into his library. He's an artist and his library is full of art books. He has 25,000 books. On a good day, he'll make me coffee and on a really good day, I'll get a coffee and I'll get the lectern put in front of me with a book on top of it and I get to look at paintings.

I always thought I would study art. A year before I met Mark Brydon -- he was the one I used to make all the music with in Moloko -- I was living in Sheffield with a guy who was studying architecture. I used to go to his college and crash the lectures there. I had enrolled to do a fine art course, but then I met Mark and we signed a record deal instead.

With Moloko, we tried to be the opposite of what was out there at the time. I like to be different. In the mid Nineties, music was quite dour and serious and everything was dressed down. So we went the other way. Our first record was about not wanting to do four-to-the-floor dance music. If I had gone to art college and everybody was being a conceptual artist, I probably would have wanted to be a portrait or landscape painter.

Right now, my average day is waking up on the tour bus, going straight in, doing some interviews, a sound check and then the gig.

There's nothing glamorous about touring -- the art work is where the glamour is. Touring is about going into this impossibly mundane situation. When we walk into the venue for the gig to do the sound check during the day and all the lights are on, you see that the place is filthy. But then, in those hours between the sound check and the gig, everything begins to transform itself through lights and music and atmosphere, and through the gathering together of people -- then it does become impossibly glamorous.

It's weird, because you can be really tired and you can still do a better gig than you might have done if you were really fresh. You almost have to be tired. It's a mixture of adrenalin and programming which goes on throughout a tour. You have to do it every night for it to really happen. I love performance, but I'm quite happy making videos as well, and I'm inordinately happy writing songs.

Years ago, a day in my life would have been waking up in the band straight away because I was right beside the guy who was in the band, Mark, my then boyfriend. Back then, there wasn't any sense of careerism and there was no emphasis on me being the star. There was only the natural exuberance of what I did. We had an extremely open-minded and experimental approach to making music. It wasn't all about me and now it kind of is. In some ways, I enjoy being on my own more because I have more control and I can tailor it to what my strengths are. Moloko was about a relationship and experimenting musically. We put everything into a melting pot to see what would come out. But now I'm on my own. The most important things have stayed the same -- my mentality, my moral outlook, my sense of individualism and my own expression of creativity. But when I start talking about this, I sound like I'm talking shit.

In Arklow, we used to have sing-songs at home at the drop of a hat. When I was nine I sang Don't Cry for Me Argentina for my family and then I was sorry that I ever did. They used to run after me in the middle of the night, asking me to sing it. I'd hide but they'd say things like, 'Ah, sing it. Your grandmother might die.' They'd put all this guilt on me and I was really embarrassed. Uncle Jim, my Auntie Linda's husband, was a real musician and a massive inspiration. He played in several bands and the whole family would go to see him play in his jazz band in Wicklow every Sunday. Nobody in my family realised I had that much talent in music. I didn't even get picked for the choir in school. I hope my teacher is reading this. She knows who she is.

We all loved Madonna. When I think back on it now, as a gang of girls in Arklow, we used to roll around the streets singing Like a Virgin. The ironic part was that we weren't like virgins, we were virgins.

One day I went up town and used my pocket money to get my hair cut. I had lovely, long blonde hair and I got a flat-top like a marine. My father cried his eyes out when he saw it. I was nine.

Music has always been huge in my life. When I was 14 I found my own niche. I went to a Sonic Youth gig with some friends and I became obsessed by music -- buying records, going to gigs and hanging around with people who had similar interests. It helped me form strong bonds with people who got me through the next few years of my parents splitting up and my mum going back to Ireland and me staying in Manchester. I wouldn't have had those friends without that music.

An hour before I go on stage, I put on my make-up and tong my hair while listening to philosophy lectures by this guy called Daniel Robinson, who is the head of philosophy at Georgetown University, in the US. It's the history of philosophy and of human folk. Some might be about Newton or Aristotle or Plato.

When I'm on stage, it's about being the best person you could possibly be. You're as open as you can be and you're probably as beautiful as you can be, because you're accepting yourself for what you are. I could never say I don't like attention because I'm obviously up there getting attention. It's what I do. It's my vocation. As a performer, you are there to give and receive.

After a gig, I'll have a glass of champagne, relax, clean up and then get on the tour bus. There are 14 of us on the bus. It doesn't have a shower, but it has a toilet that stinks to high heaven. Then I always watch Star Trek before going to my bunk.

The only place you can be alone is your bunk -- it has a curtain around it and is surprisingly comforting. I do dream when I'm on tour. I tend to have more sexy dreams. You're moving so maybe there's something going on with all that friction.


Roisin on the radio

Roisin was a guest on Jools Holland's BBC radio show last night. She performed an accoustic version of the song Scarlet Ribbons, a tribute to her father. If you've missed the show, you can listen online here.

It's cold outside so...

...don't forget your scarf! - Elle outtake #4


Dublin review from independent.ie

Poor Roisin Murphy nearly didn't make it. About a month ago, onstage in Moscow, the Arklow chanteuse banged into a chair and sustained severe damage to her eye socket.

Most of her European tour had to be pulled, but thankfully Murphy recovered just in time for this homecoming lap.

Roisin arrives onstage early, to kick-off a two hour extravaganza showcasing her dazzling new album 'Overpowered'. She opens with the pulverising pop house of 'Cry Baby', a track taking the dancefloors of the world by storm courtesy of a Paul Oakenfold remix.

Naturally, Roisin looks fabulous, layering a different look for each song and using a vast array of cloaks, capes, gloves and hats.

The slinky electro disco glides on, peaking with 'Movie Star', 'Primitive' and the beautiful 'Dear Miami'. Roisin doesn't talk to the crowd much, apart from a heartfelt and brief "nice to be home" speech and to dedicate a song to her proud mother and father, who are both watching from the balcony.

She remains focused on delivering an eclectic and electrifying live show while reminding us just how good her husky voice is.

Murphy has already been touted as a leading contender to scoop the 'Choice Music Prize' next February. It's an accolade she richly deserves, as no other Irish band or artist has matched her talents in 2007. 'Overpowered' has also been hailed as a dance pop masterpiece in the UK and US and her music is definitely our coolest export in recent times.

Fans of her former band, Moloko, are rewarded with a new rendition of 'Forever More', a song not as familiar as the 1999 hit 'Sing It Back', but certainly one of their best. Since the demise of Moloko, Roisin Murphy has really come into her own, stunningly becoming Ireland's premier pop star in the process.

From independent.ie.

Another day, another Elle outtake

Manchester review

Róisín Murphy’s performance is a rampant, merciless tour de force of electro eccentricity. You have to be verbose when you talk about Murphy. To describe the hi-octane fuelled performance without language loaded with hyperbole is impossible.

With stunning effect, Murphy is the synthesis of the commanding presence of Alison Goldfrapp, the quirkiness and zeal of Gwen Stefani and professionalism of Madonna. All this amid a room and a stage that felt small and amateurish. The hour and half wait for the performance was littered by observations that the set designer shopped for lamps at Ikea and that Murphy’s beautiful outfits were on a flimsy-looking rail on stage. Any doubts disappeared when Murphy and her band came on stage and executed with impeccable, soulful synchronisation. This coupled with the most understated instrument of the night—Murphy’s voice—creates one of the best live acts of 2007.

Both these aspects are epitomised when the audience finally experiences Murphy performing Overpowered live. To see this year’s sultry, 303-laced anthem in action was utter genius and worth the price of the ticket. With the elegance and flair seen at Murphy’s performance with Gucci at Swarovski Fashion Rocks 2007, the crowd were ecstatic with the seamless transition into Seamus Haji’s stomping remix. Worth the ticket price, Murphy and her band overpowered the audience as high fashion and high energy collided with a crazy, climatic culmination of the eight-minute wonder.

The genius and epic nature of Overpowered was mirrored by the re-imagining of Moloko’s near-masterpiece Forever More. The harmony between the lyrics sang with the Roy Lichtenstein-esque graphics in the background with bubbles of the lyrics created an intertextuality that was transcendent.

Poignant and intelligent, this acid-funk odyssey combined all the elements of the show creating the distillation of a disco-delicious performance.

Words by Rudy Katoch, picture by Wraggy.

PopMatters: the best of '07

PopMatters reviewed the best electronica music of the past year. Here's what they have to say about Roisin's latest offering:

In the face of minimal's continued asceticism, a surprisingly warm and accessible subgenre re-emerged large in 2007—Italodisco. This music has always had an open, all-inclusive tonality that's refreshingly optimistic. So it's no surprise that the cream of the crop made for some of the most downright fun music to be produced this year. Roisin Murphy, veering away from the quirky brilliance Matthew Herbert lent her debut, gave us an impeccably crafted pop disco record in Overpowered — from the tortuous synth arpeggios of the opening title track, Murphy strongly proclaims, "I’m back on the floor".

Roisin at Koko

A reader and fellow blogger sent me the following message:

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Do check it out!



Sheffield gig review

The wonderful Vicky from the blog Green Girls Global kindly volunteered to write a review of Roisin's gig in Sheffield. The picture and the linked YouTube videos are also by Vicky.

Roisin Murphy Live at The Plug in Sheffield
3 December 2007

I’ve loved Roisin from back in the (tight sweater) day, yet it’s taken me the best part of 12 years to see her in concert. After having to settle with the 11,000 Clicks DVD and then clips of the Ruby Blue tour online I was determined to get me some live action this time around.

My heart took a little leap when my partner and I walked into The Plug in Sheffield and saw that the spaces right at the front (and only deserving to hardcore fans) were free. We grabbed a couple of drinks and firmly planted ourselves in a spot with a great view.

Opening with the pumping build of Cry Baby we heard Roisin before we saw her so it’s not surprising that the first thing that struck me was the strength and rich quality of her voice. Straight away I knew we were in for a treat. Throughout this first song, and the rest of the night, Roisin makes eye contact with her fans, striking cool poses and smiling. It’s clear that she enjoys what she does and tells us so, saying “It’s the best life!”.

You Know Me Better is extra special as she dedicates the song to Sheffield because, as she explains, it's one of her home towns. Then I defy even the shyest of groovers to resist a tap of foot or nod of head as she breaks into her energetic, high-kicking dance style and encourages us all to join in. She’s so engaged with her crowd you feel like you’re at the best party ever.

Overall the concert is upbeat and funky and as always Roisin is stylish, sexy and funny all at the same time. Donning outfits which would make most of us look ridiculous, Roisin simply looks chic. The most chilled out sections are Scarlet Ribbons and The Truth, interjected with the rap you must have heard about by now. Tell Everybody is heartfelt and sincere.

The highlight for me though was definitely during Let Me Know/Reach. Not only is Let Me Know one of my favourite songs on the new album but Roisin literally reached out to her fans, holding the hands of a lucky few – and I was one of them! It was the ultimate high to an already amazing night.

Ramalama (Bang Bang) was a brilliant choice for the last song when Eddie breaks away from his keyboards and does his own soft shoe shuffle, barefoot (a la Sing it Back on 11,000 Clicks) and Roisin gets slapstick beaten up by her backing singers.

I could go on and on about every single song and performance but it’s just not the same as seeing her first hand. If you want to know what its like to see Roisin live then do it. I know I’ll be back for more as soon as I get a chance.

Roisin at the Roundhouse

Roisin will be performing at London's Roundhouse on Saturday 8 March 2008.

Tickets went on sale this morning on LiveNation.


You Know Me Better - February release

According to mattscdsingles.com album favourite You Know Me Better will be released as a single in February. It's the third single from the Overpowered album.

As always, I will keep you posted on the video, exact release date, artwork, formats, b-sides and remixes.


A backstage fag at STRP

Roisin enjoying a fag backstage at the STRP Festival in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

From Flickr.

Overpowered - Ring in the New Year

Gaywired.com has chosen Overpowered as one of seven songs for ringing in the New Year:

Overpowered by Roisin Murphy —This may be my favorite song of the year so far (and, yes, I realize the year's almost over). It sounds a little grimy—like something you'd hear in an underground club, if you ever visited such places—but the Irish-born babe's clear-as-a-bell vocals bring it back to a place anyone can be comfortable. Believe me, you won't be able to get the hook out of your brain, nor will your guests. Think of it as a parting gift.


Manchester last night

Two amazing pictures of Roisin performing in Manchester last night, taken by Flickr member Wraggy. You can see the complete set of pictures here.

Glasgow concert review


Some might say it was triumph enough that Roisin Murphy actually made it to the stage. A little over a month ago, the Irish singer was hit by a chair while performing in Moscow, suffering considerable damage to her eye socket.

Her show is such a bright explosion of electro-disco perfection that is cause for much excitement. Murphy doesn't just play her show, she actively performs it. She layers on a new look for every song and each is deployed with a mixture of stylish vogueing and pouting irony.

Yet Murphy is so much more than a fashion icon. Despite no longer being part of Moloko, the band which made her name, her solo material is effortlessly groove-able. Although her default style is the mixture of disco grooving and hard-edged electro which drive songs like Primitive and Movie Star, she makes credible diversions into P-Funk, breathy soul, alien jazz-funk and the demented burlesque showtunery of Ramalama (Bang Bang).

In an ideal world, Murphy would be as big a star as Björk, at the very least.

From scotsman.com.


Very saucy!

Does the pretty blonde on the right look familiar? Well it's Roisin at the Moet Mirage Party in September. Note that she is wearing her Ramalama (Bang Bang) stage outfit.

See more pictures from the party on dirtydirtydancing.com.


Independent review of Brighton show

In interview, Roisin Murphy appears not to suffer fools gladly. Direct, single-minded and occasionally a little belligerent, she comes across as a strong women who is in total control of both her art and her career.

It's surprising, then, that her live shows reveal an individual who seems riddled with insecurities. It's certainly the case at this opening show in support of her second solo album Overpowered, where her glamorous poses and supermodel poise are undone by awkward dance moves and embarrassed smiles and glances.

Such contrasting personality traits have always been at the heart of Murphy's work. As one half of Moloko she milked these opposing forces of the dance-floor weirdo and the pop starlet to startling effect.

Live, however, these schizophrenic dynamics show a performer with a need to remain in complete control. This, despite the fact that her current music is built around a sense of jouissance – the out-of-body bliss of dance-floor pleasure.

Murphy's displays of such free-spirited states of mind are tempered by her faux-celebrity performance. So pounding acid house-meets-disco beats are explored through a series of on-stage costume changes. These range from the high-couture judge for "The Truth" to the pantomime Gestapo princess for "Tell Everybody" and "Ramalama".

The costume changes give Murphy the image of someone in need of constant reinvention. But then that is what this show is all about. The set is almost entirely drawn from her new album, while the only songs from the previous Ruby Blue set, "Sow Into You" and "Ramalama (Bang Bang)", get a disco makeover.

As the band thunder through a performance that updates the soul revue to excellent effect, Murphy slips between personalities, proving herself to be one of the UK's most interesting pop stars at the moment.

Her stagecraft draws on these various character traits to present an inspired observation on the split personality at the heart of the music industry. The stunning "Overpowered" finds her playing both puppet and puppet mistress, while the lone Moloko song "Forever More" sees Murphy joining her backing singers to become one of the girls, rather than the star of the show.

Endlessly inventive, beautiful, smart and blessed with a gorgeous voice: on the face of it Murphy is the perfect pop star. But as this performance showed, the obtuse side of her refuses to play the pop game according to the industry rules.

From independent.co.uk.

Overpowered - acoustic from the Union Chapel

Only a short clip I'm afraid, but this is Roisin giving a rare acoustic performance of Overpowered in London's Union Chapel on Sunday.

More about the live cd

I reported last week that concertlive.co.uk is selling an official live recording of Roisin's 19/11 concert in the Ancienne Belgique. I bought my copy at Koko the other day and was pleasantly surprised. The quality of the recording is superb.

A minor 'but': the cds do not include the complete set performed at the Ancienne Belgique - Dear Miami, Movie Star, Pandora, Overpowered, and Ramalama (Bang Bang) are missing. However, all in all it's a must-have item for any Roisin devotee!

The tracklisting:

Disc 1
1. Cry Baby
2. You Know Me Better
3. Checkin' On Me
4. Primitive
5. Sow Into You
6. Footprints
7. Scarlet Ribbons
8. The Truth

Disc 2
1. Tell Everybody
2. Forever More
3. Let Me Know

You can still buy your copy here or at Roisin's remaining UK dates.