Róisín Murphy – Take Her up to MontoCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Talented Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy continues her impressive post-Moloko solo career with her fourth album, Take Her up to Monto. Named after an Irish folk song popular in the 1960s, the album consists of nine mostly lengthy tracks, with Murphy’s trademark easy dance beats infused with elements from many other genres.
Eight years passed between Murphy’s hit second album Overpowered and her third, the award-winning Hairless Toys. Fans have had to wait only two years for this new work, which draws inspiration from her established eclectic style while moving her unique combinations of genres in a new, higher-quality direction. Production with long-term collaborator Eddie Stevens ensures it remains ultimately a dance album, but one Murphy herself has described as having “an extreme kind of aesthetic.” The hauntingly strange vocals that appear during the last seconds of opening track Mastermind lead perfectly into the creatively offbeat second song, Pretty Gardens, a perfect example of the singer’s skilled experimentation with dissonant styles and melodies.
Murphy’s vocals range from gentle almost-whispers to strong, diva high notes. The subjects of her songs seem to centre on love and romance, yet most are undercut with a dark, ironic humour preventing them from becoming entirely earnest. The tracks span from thoughtful ballads to meandering dance pieces. Thoughts Wasted summarises cynically that “humans are fucked”, while Lip Service provides a jarring contrast to this: perky, harmonious and structured, it seems out of place among the rest.
This is an album very much at odds with itself; each track seeks to outdo the last in its unique strangeness. While none of the tunes are especially catchy, Murphy’s ambitious layering of sounds is ambitious and unusual, and, while not launching her into the mainstream, maintains her place as an intelligent artist happier out of the spotlight, successful, but rejecting pop stardom.
Take Her up to Monto is released on 8th July 2016, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Ten Miles High here: