I first became aware of Miss Murphy’s voice when I heard Moloko’s 1999 hit Sing it Back. I didn’t like it. But, as with all great relationships, hate turned to love with the arrival of the follow up single The Time is Now. Roisin’s voice played powerfully across the disjointed background music to utterly seduce me. I was hooked.
In Things To Make and Do, an experimental electronic album, Roisin had to compete with abstract beats and peculiar sound effects. The quirky, smoky qualities to her voice complement this perfectly in songs such as Fun For Me. At times she manages to layer sweet honeyed tones with twangs of darkness, teasing together to form something utterly addictive.
“Do you like my tight sweater?” was the chat-up line Murphy used on Moloko partner Mark Brydon when they first met, and which soon after became the title of their first album in 1995. With lines such as “# I dreamt I met a spaceman he took me to his ship/You know he cut my hair off, snip snip snip #” and tracks like Dirty Monkey and Killa Bunnies, this album had a yet more fantastical content. It is sung with quiet breaths, mischievously spoken or lushly chanted. The attention to detail concerned in the way she applies her voice made even the most obscure lyrics seem completely comprehensible.
Roisin’s first solo album Ruby Blue is her most accomplished yet. The playfulness of her voice and eclectics of style is still evident, particularly on the title track. She has moulded her sound into something poignant and contemporary.
We are in our most stable relationship yet. I’d marry that voice.
words: Catriona Mole
picture: Chris Richards
Roisin Murphy’s new album Overpowered is out now – you can read Chris’ review of it here on the Motel.