Stretch your mind back. Far, far back into the distant 20th century. Remember the days when albums were something you saved up furiously for. When even true fans didn’t like all the songs on first playing. Yet, you stuck to them, invested time in them. And then one day, even those ones you hated became the ones you’d die for should anyone have the nerve to criticise them. They’re gone now aren’t they? Wrong. Thank you Róisín Murphy for bringing them back.
It’s impossible to approach her releases like an iTunes download pick ’n' mix. They’re too layered, too weird and, crucially, too much fun. Róisín’s albums are basically like that fancy French goats cheese you find at farmers’ markets, the kind that makes you wonder if the world has gone absolutely mad to call it edible. This isn’t download territory - it’s a journey, and if you buy a ticket, you have to put the time in to get to the destination. But what a destination.
Structurally, these tracks have given the verse-chorus-verse format a P45. They inhabit an electronic, melodic world that’s as loose, creative and nuanced as their lyrics. Speaking to Clash, Róisín played this down somewhat: “It might be that I just don’t know what I’m doing,” she said (lies, obviously) before confiding that “from the beginning it’s been my collaborators that have had the most input/influence as I react very intensely and even intimately with the music. I go where it takes me.”
In ‘Take Her Up To Monto’, Róisín’s collaboration with Eddie Stevens has taken her into moments that recall the filmic soundscapes of classic-era Trevor Horn, the spontaneous flow of Arthur Russell, or even recent Scott Walker. If 2015’s Mercury prize-nominated ‘Hairless Toys’ was made out of cut glass, ‘Take Her Up…’ is a more sensual affair. It carries itself like curious piece of colourful matter, hovering and changing shape, at times shimmering, or just shifting colour. But the thing is, first you need to commit to buying the ticket.
Words: Joe Heaney
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