Electro Feminisms: Roísín Murphy
Roísín Murphy is an Irish vocalist and producer who first came to public notice in the quirky electro group Moloko, a duo she formed with producer Mark Brydon. The duo's first album Do You Like My Tight Sweater? was released in 1995 and was titled after the pick-up line Murphy used to pull Brydon.
Moloko's biggest hit was “Sing It Back,” which became a huge hit in 1999 when producer Boris Dlugosch remixed the song into disco house heaven. The song was seemingly omnipresent in the clubs of the time, sure-fire floor filler.
After another album, Roísín struck out on her own, recording an album with producer Matthew Herbert called Ruby Blue. The album wasn't a tremendous success, and its mix of disco, jazz and experimental sound design isn't for everyone. “If We're In Love” was the first single, and it is quite lovely. The visuals for the fairytale are certainly interesting.
After the comparative failure of Ruby Blue, Murphy followed it up with a 80s disco and funk flavoured album called Overpowered. It is a truly great album, consistent from start to finish. The album was accompanied by a really great video and art campaign featuring Roísín wearing experimental couture clothes in mundane settings like a cafe or suburban home. Watching those videos, it's hard not to think that Murphy just missed the boat—with Lady Gaga striking gold with similarly eccentric visuals the following year.
Interesting though, one of the most striking visuals from the Overpowered album was actually a stripped-down acoustic performance Murphy gave for the BBC's Culture Show. I was lucky enough to see Moloko live in the early '00s, and I have to say, Roísín is one of the most electrifying live performers I've ever seen. I wasn't a huge Moloko fan before seeing them live, but have been a huge fan ever since. For a decade and a half, Roísín Murphy has been making smart, innovative, artsy electropop. Gaga who?
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