Consider disco well and truly revived. Already in 2020 we’ve had Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware and Jessy Lanza nostalgically turning back the clock to a comparatively carefree pre-Covid time of mirrorballs and late night boogie-ing, creating records that could easily have fallen through a time capsule. Now, flamboyant Irish outsider Róisín Murphy is back to claim her throne as queen of the dancefloor, delivering a decade-in-the-making discofied album full of pulsating feel-good anthems. And it’s an instant classic.
With the aptly-titled ‘Róisín Machine’ – her fifth record and first full-length project since 2016’s appealingly strange ‘Take Her Up To Monto’ – Murphy invites us on an escapist journey to a utopian universe where pleasure and fantasy go hand in hand. Over throbbing synths and, Murphy – who first rose to fame in the ’90s as one half of trip-hop duo Moloko – sets the scene on gradually-teasing opener ‘Simulation’. There’s no rush; instead the grooving disco beat is gradually built up over eight-and-a-half seductive minutes.
Thematically, time underpins much of the album: on ‘Kingdom Of Ends’, Murphy ponders the mundanity of everyday life. Lines such as “Keep waking up at 6am, getting up, doing it all again” cleverly question the cyclical nature of daily life. Tear-streaked, soulful piano-house highlight ‘Something More’ acts as the moment of realisation, Murphy’s repeated plea picking up the pace as the infectious chorus grows into a hands-in-the-air anthem that’s destined to (eventually) soundtrack end-of-the-night embraces. Equally timely is the handclap-driven ‘Shellfish Mademoiselle’, on which Murphy‘s relatable lyrics – “How dare you sentence me to a lifetime without dancing when my body’s made for feeling?” – really hit hard.
During the album’s second half, the energy increases even further as Murphy and Sheffield-based collaborator Crooked Man (aka DJ Parrot) throw the party of a lifetime: infectious singalong ‘Incapable’ strides along finger clicks, strutting synths and a funky Chic-like bassline as Murphy masks heartbroken loss into a forgotten disco classic; loved-up celebrations ‘We Got Together’ and ‘Murphy’s Law’ explode in euphoric fashion; ‘Jealousy’ morphs into a dancefloor screamer.
Just close your eyes and imagine being among an up-for-it crowd at Ibiza institution Pikes as Róisín brings this record to hedonistic life as the sun sets. Such unified bliss is something we can only dream of right now.
Release date: September 25
Record label: Skint Records / BMG