We interviewed the Irish musician Róisín Murphy a few years ago. We were knee-to-knee in the back of a sedan in Nashville, she kept her sunglasses on, answered in micro-sentences and called us “darling” in a voice that would have frozen champagne in the heat of the Tennessee sun.
But we still think her experimental, innovative output makes her rank among the world’s most celebrated musicians. She’s got a new album out this week, Hairless Toys, her first proper one since 2007’s Overpowered. Her bewitchingly creepy, fragile, jazz-flecked voice has given cachet to all kinds of dance music, such as her work as half of Moloko, whose 1995 debut Do You Like My Tight Sweater? still stands up as a spiky gem in an era that was stuffed with chill-out bilge.
Hairless Toys lurches unrepentantly from the low-key house of 'Gone Fishing' and the eerie country twang of 'Exile', to the mutant ice-cream-van keys of glowering ballad 'Unputdownable'. It’s decidedly unanthemic, and, like its creator, uneager to please. Which is exactly why it should.
Hairless Toys by Róisín Murphy (Play It Again Sam) is out now