Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Oxytoxins, meet harlequinade

Roisin Murphy's Overpowered is my favorite album of the last two weeks. A sleeper, too: the somnolent Moloko never did much for me. The album sleeve -- a low budget attempt at Bjorkian fantasia -- put me off too. Groove Armada, among others, construct gleaming, squelchy electro grooves that evoke without mimicking Bobby Orlando, Kraftwerk, and Orbital. That's what I could find; there are no doubt more allusions I haven't picked out (yesterday the chorus of "You Make Me Better" summoned Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time").

Murphy's voice is the killer. Like the music, it's a lithe amalgamation of every diva that's ever soared over busy arrangements. Dusty Springfield, the low snarl of Alicia "I Love The Nightlife" Bridges, Shara Nelson, Tracey Thorn -- in songs like "Overpowered" and the uncategorizable "Dear Miami" she's absorbed them; her oxytoxins are flowing as she turns a critical eye on the melting sun. I love this kind of out-in-the-city avidness. I love this kind of out-on-the-streets avidness. There's always room for women of intelligence and grace who can confess to low self-esteem and how weak they are in the presence of beauty without succumbing to the preciousness about which former Sleater Kinney guitarist/singer Carrie Brownstein warns us in her new NPR blog (thanks, Carl Wilson) -- if I'd any advice to offer Murphy, it's to leave the cover harlequinade to lesser performers, thanks.


Passion of the Weiss said...

"Low budget Bjorkian fantasia" is perfect. I'm going to have to give this a listen now.

Thanks for the kind words btw, I regret that we didn't get the chance to chat more in New York. El-Lay is getting to me, I think I'm in need of a change of scenery. Or at least some better coiffing tips. I'm open to suggestions.

nate said...


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