Róisín Murphy’s bombastic new album, adequately named Róisín Machine, doesn’t take any prisoners. From out of the dregs of a seven-month-and-counting-in-and-out-lockdown enters this album and its opening manifesto: making one’s own happy ending. The opening track ‘Simulation’ exudes an untouchable effortlessness, strutting around the mantra this is a simulation up and down the buildups and drops, landing itself resolutely in the icy cold swelling synths that bleed into the comparatively held-back and pensive ‘Kingdom of Ends’. From here on, each track offers a glimpse into the compartments and gizmos that make up the ‘machine’, but few live up to the coolness and vitality of the opening track, which I unabashedly could listen to on repeat for hours and hours.
‘We Got Together’ is Róisín at her most rambunctious and punchy on the tracklist and the repeated lyrics are delivered with firm conviction; we MOVE together, we STEP together… yes Róisín, I will move and step with you too! I was especially looking forward to how the penultimate track ‘Narcissus’ would be treated, it being the only Róisín song I was truly familiar with before the album dropped. The transition into it did not disappoint – swirly strings in a psychedelic-disco-maelstrom, that naughty, naughty bass line, the hissing echoes… Narcissus… Narcissus… Róisín – I am indebted to you for brightening this glummest of Octobers.
Sure, some of the tracks drag out, but for the most part this record has more strong moments on it than weak. Just put your headphones in and the lights off – why, you can almost imagine life back to normal again.
Header image: Adrian Samson