Irish Old and New

by 5:4

There was an entirely accidental Irish connection to yesterday’s listening. Greatly enamoured as i am of Clodagh Simonds‘ gorgeous voice (she now records as Fovea Hex), i thought it would be interesting to listen to her earliest work, as part of the influential group Mellow Candle. Their 1972 album Swaddling Songs is something of a legendary work, marking the transition from 60s psychedelia to 70s progressive folk, and it’s surprising, over 25 years on, how fresh it sounds, with an eclectic mixture of instruments (the harpsichord twiddlings – to use proper musical terminology – are marvellous!), and delicate, almost naïve, vocals, that can occasionally become rapturously wild.

i admit i had high hopes for Clodagh Simonds’ compatriot Róisín Murphy, although little to go on. i was never very interested in her band Moloko, so was therefore unsure what to expect. But she disappointed me – i listened to her first album, Ruby Blue, which seems to be attempting to combine lazy lounge jazz with the glitches that annoyingly accompany so much electronica these days. When applied to her vocals, it was engaging and actually rather fascinating (particularly through headphones), but my interest soon wained, and i was glad when the album ended. i began to listen to her new album, Overpowered, but couldn’t bear more than two tracks; it sounds worryingly like she’s now trying to add the flavour of Goldfrapp into the mixture. Not for me, it seems.

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The Confused

Roisin Murphy is a talent I’ve enjoyed for the last 13 years. Fair enough you weren’t into Moloko nor get her solo stuff.

Speaking as, and for many Roisin fans, “Ruby Blue” is a fascinating and bonkers album that initially is inaccessible but quickly grows on you. In fact I hated it on first listen but its since become my fave album of hers.

“Overpowered” though is another beast altogether that has split fans down the middle though the majority agree it is a blatant commercial sell out move that simply doesn’t come off since the album lacks the qualities we all love of Roisin – her madcap sense of humour and keenness to explore. Its a downright anonymous sounding pop record that is by and far her worst release.

Worse still, Roisin signed with EMI just before it went into meltdown and she has suffered badly for it with poor lacklustre promotion from EMI. About 6 months ago she went about promoting a new single, “Movie Star” that never appeared. Unfortunately it’s the weakest track from the album and worse, EMI have been pissing about with this single.

It was due to be released a few weeks ago, but has again failed to appear and I wish EMI would stop pissing about because the song has nothing going for it and since she promoted it all that time ago, it’s time has passed and is dead in the water. Not exactly Roisins fault.

I just only hope she can break free of EMI and get back to doing something more individual and ditch the attempt to be a blatant commercial pop star. She isn’t a pop star… shes Roisin Murphy and an unusual and fascinating talent!

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