Róisín Murphy – Hit Parade
Róisín Murphy has featured prominently on the UK and Irish dance scene for close to 30 years, initially as a part of the duo, Moloko (who had top ten hits including The Time Is Now and Familiar Feeling). Since 2005 she has pursued a successful and eclectic solo career: her third solo release, Hairless Toys was nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2015 and her last, Róisín Machine, was labelled as one of the year’s best by a number of outlets. Murphy now returns with a dancefloor filler album aptly titled Hit Parade.
It’s immediately obvious from the opener – the epic What Not to Do – that this is an ambitious project showing an artist at the peak of her powers. It’s an infectious start that proves the strength of Murphy’s vocals and her varied influences.
The Universe is more of a throwback to earlier disco sounds, recalling some of Nile Rodgers’s work on Chic and Sister Sledge especially, with the guitar tones. Far from being derivative, however, the latter is a shimmering pop offering that fuses guitars and more electronic sounds. The House also recalls disco, blending several elements into something exhilarating and unexpected. Hurtz So Bad feels more like a house track, especially in its drum’n’bass-based intro. Fader has more of a soul groove, revealing a slightly different side to Murphy.
The back end of the record is full of grandiose dance and pop epics, with three of the playlist – Free Will, You Knew and Can’t Replicate – running over the six-minute mark. While these songs might be grandiose, they are constantly diverting and will reward multiple listens. Free Will moves in unexpected directions, incorporating many of the disparate elements that can be found more widely.
Hit Parade is a highly accomplished album from an artist celebrating her fourth decade in the music industry and clearly with plenty still to prove. While she may have caused some controversy recently, there can be no taking away from Murphy’s continued power to innovate and surprise, as she delivers some of the strongest work in an already highly acclaimed career. While some artists might struggle to marry the range of genres on display, Murphy manages it without breaking a sweat. This record also continues a strong recent trend of disco-influenced works, showing how well classic disco beats can marry with 21st century production.
Hit Parade is released on 8th September 2023. For further information or to order the album visit Róisín Murphy’s website here.
Watch the video for the single The Universe here: