|A quiet place to sit A little light to see Some time to read Is really all I need You're unputdownable A story so confounding The pages turn so...||See the rest of the song lyrics|
Q MagazineMay 6, 2015It does reconfirm her knack for making grown-up dance albums unlike anyone else. [Jun 2015, p.106]
UncutMay 6, 2015This set of sentimental cappuccino funk is as intimate and provocative as anything Murphy's put her name to, the eight songs a fussy fusion of Balearic soul and bohemian synthpop. [Jun 2015, p.80]
MojoMay 20, 2015It's the brooding dancefloor ordnance which marks Hairless Toys as a career highlight. [Jun 2015, p.88]
Positive: 5 out of 5
Mixed: 0 out of 5
Negative: 0 out of 5
May 12, 2015We’ve waited 8 years for another album by Irish, electronic music maven, Róisín Murphy. Following 2007’s ‘Overpowered’ came a string ofWe’ve waited 8 years for another album by Irish, electronic music maven, Róisín Murphy. Following 2007’s ‘Overpowered’ came a string of one-off singles and collaborations until last summer’s Italian cover experiment ‘Mi Senti – EP’. Finally back in full, Murphy reminds us exactly why we fell for her the first time, and gives even more reason to fall for her again.
Usually dabbling in the quirkier side of pop, her first solo record saw her using sampled objects for percussion while synthesizing pop, jazz, and electronic music for 2005’s ‘Ruby Blue’. The more commercially ready successor ‘Overpowered’ didn’t so much downplay Murphy’s oddness, but rather filtered it into slightly more accessible dance music, and club bangers.
With ‘Hairless Toys’ Murphy finds an interesting middle ground between the sounds of its predecessors all the while creating something entirely singular as well. One listen through and it’s pretty apparent Murphy’s created a somewhat style of her own, not so successfully described as a sort of sleek and slinky downtempo electronica, taking nods from house and dance music. Most songs start with a simple downplayed and straightforward recurring motif, progressing linearly, and slowly collecting various musical accents to adorn itself in pulses of lush layers.
Most songs clock in at a few past the four minute mark, spreading out and forcing the listener to repeat a few times to digest and make sense of a song. But the record never feels overdrawn. This might be in part due to the short track list.
Occasionally the song will take a quick left turn down an unexpected detour, as showcased on “Uninvited Guest”. Starting with a shifty bass line under sneaky vocal chirps and high pitched whistling, it drifts into a cascading cycle of plucked strings and breathy vocals swirling in ecstasy, only to return back on course where it dropped off.
“Gone Fishing” starts the record with a metallic clang, submerged glittery synths, and tinkering piano, while bright synths bubble to the centre before it boils over towards the end, drowning in chaos. “Evil Eyes” takes on a funkier step, while whispered witchy chants of “my wish come true/my spell on you” preceding big sparkling blasts.
“Exploitation”, a 9 minute epic, diverges three separate segments in the first 30 seconds alone. Noisy beeps and harsh industrial drums smash, and then pound, segueing into a clicking beat over a distorted synth bass line. Murphy’s delivery hardly wavers from threatening whispers, constantly musing “who’s exploiting who?”. Jittery guitar slides and tiptoeing piano teeter, while firework synths stab glittery flashes. Segueing back into an instrumental for the outro the pitter-patter of brush sticks flutter over the continued stomp and click beat. Droning bleeps sound before billowing piano chords like clothes drying on a line, being blown away by the wind in slow-mo. And before you know it the song fades.
“Exile”, perhaps the most abstract the record gets, opens to the twang of guitars and the windy brushes of drums, as if an old western. Lamenting the banishment by a former lover, Murphy paints idyllic scenery in contrast to it’s underlying desolate landscape. “Exile, Banished from your love, I feel; It’s a beautiful place, But cold at night”
“House of Glass” adopts a similar palette to “Exploitation” with the stomping beat, whispered vocals, and low synth line, occasionally dissipating into short atmospheric swells before returning with slightly more raucous percussion each time. Eventually picking up steely beats and hard handclaps surrounded by soaring mallets and synth sweeps.
“Hairless Toys” (my personal favourite) is painfully beautiful. Slow drums pitter-patter, while distorted vocal mutters constantly insist, “that’s gotta hurt”. Towards the end it erupts into cascading lights of dancing synths, while mournful choirs rise in and out with tremendous swells and cries, only to fade back to where it started.
The record ends on the aptly title “Unputdownable”, likening a lover to a fascinating read. “You’re unputdownable, a story so confounding, the pages turn so easily”. Piano keys ripple over a shaker, only to halt completely for hard guitar strums and an uplifting chorus chant.
While there might be the occasional echo of some of Murphy’s electronic contemporaries (i.e Björk, Goldfrapp), it’s also very apparent that “Hairless Toys” is a world entirely of its own.… Expand
May 29, 2015An excellent album, less poppy, more subdued in direction of experimental electronica than her last. For me, Roisin’s distinctive singing isAn excellent album, less poppy, more subdued in direction of experimental electronica than her last. For me, Roisin’s distinctive singing is forever associated with the feel of wild and ecstatic nineties clubbing. As part of Moloko she had one of most sophisticated female voices in millennial clubbing. Her solo worked proved that complexity of the music is her very own invention, her moves in various music styles, her mixing of trip hop, electronic, disco, house. A mature, well done album that demonstrates organic growth of a true artist.… Expand
May 12, 2015Subcutaneous grooves and heartfelt linguistics make for her most interesting and rewarding album to date. A treat for longtime fans, aSubcutaneous grooves and heartfelt linguistics make for her most interesting and rewarding album to date. A treat for longtime fans, a challenge for newcomers.… Expand
May 12, 2015A lush landscape of electro-jazz and acoustic croons. I for one was sceptical of Roisin's new choice of musical direction, however knowingA lush landscape of electro-jazz and acoustic croons. I for one was sceptical of Roisin's new choice of musical direction, however knowing this will not be a commercially viable chart topper almost gives me more respect for her and her art. Roisin has spent the last 8 years being a featured vocalist for such amazing acts as Crookers, Mason Fatboy Slim and Marius de Vries, now it is her time to create her own concepts and originality. Listen to: Gone Fishing, Evil Eyes, Exploitation.… Expand
May 18, 2015It's very comforting to hear something special every now and then. Without wanting to amaze, "Hairless Toys" is the perfect balance betweenIt's very comforting to hear something special every now and then. Without wanting to amaze, "Hairless Toys" is the perfect balance between the vintage of jazz and the futurism of minimal synth, even if sometimes it sounds a bit tedious.… Expand
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