Roisin Murphy returns freshly signed to EMI with her latest album, ‘Overpowered’. Her second solo album following on from the critically acclaimed ‘Ruby Blue’ of 2005. If the former album was her taking a walk in the experimental forests of collaboration with Matthew Herbert the new album is Roisin showing us how to craft a masterful collection of contemporary and soulful dance tracks that owe as much to being listenable pop tunes as well as dancefloor fillers.
Kicking off with the slightly acidic tinge of the first single ‘Overpowered’ this is an album that once again finds Murphy on effortlessly graceful form vocally. She breezes through the thirteen tracks with the usual sense of accomplishment we have come to expect from her. As always with Murphy’s voice it’s not just a question of range and histrionics. She has an unerring knack of “widening” her voice soulfully inviting the listener in to the song, while at other points she narrows her range with cool focus and a hint of aggression, almost like a laser.
There’s a clutch of singles waiting to happen on this album, of particular note are tracks like ‘Movie Star’ with its post Moloko stompy synth bass which Alison Goldfrapp made a career out of and the likes of Kylie have watered down. Then of course the stark stripped back ode to the true nature of humanity in ‘Primitive’. Murphy prowls all over this track like a creature of its namesake.
There are oddities as well, ‘Scarlet Ribbons’ is the one track on the collection where the foot is taken off the pedal and Roisin shows us a side to her that we’ve not commonly seen. This is a really intimate lyric and one that belies her usual writing style. She doesn’t usually seem to open up this much and for those used to her material both solo and with Moloko this might come as something of a surprise.
As a whole the album shows her once again in collaborative spirit. There is production and writing input from the likes of Bugz In The Attic, Tom Elmhirst (known for his work with Amy Winehouse and Royksopp) and of course Groove Armada.
I would love to see this album and its related singles do well simply on the strength that they deserve it. Sadly if you are looking to find Miss Murphy in the mainstream her appearances aren’t frequent enough and the only time you seem to encounter her style is when some Jenny come lately deems fit to rip it off. This album is too good to allow that fate to befall it, off you toddle and acquire it post haste dear reader. Your ears will thank you for it later.