Although Irish electronic music singer/songwriter and producer Roisin Murphy first started her musical career as one-half of the duo Moloko with her then-boyfriend Mark Brydon, it was the 2005 release of her debut solo effort, Ruby Blue that saw Murphy become known as a rather inventive artist – the sort of artist whose work incorporates elements of jazz, pop and other genres, as well as samples of found sounds, including ornaments, dancing and every day objects. The album was critically applauded across the blogosphere for its unique sound; however, the album was unfortunately a commercial failure.
2007 saw the release of Murphy’s sophomore effort, Overpowered, which was considered for nomination for the MTV Europe Music Award for Best International Act but unfortunately never made the short list. And although she hadn’t released any new album-length material, over the last few years, Murphy has released a number of singles and collaborations with the likes of Fatboy Slim, David Byrne, Crookers, and several others.
Last year, Murphy released the Mi Senti EP, a collaboration with her frequent collaborator Eddie Stevens and her partner Sebastiano Propezi, which featured the Irish singer/songwriter singing covers in Italian. Reportedly, that effort’s material intentionally channelled Edith Piaf and Studio 54 in a style that Murphy coined “very adult-orientated disco.” Interestingly, Hairless Toys, Murphy’s first release in over eight years, also reportedly draws from similar influences – in this case, European house music, Casablanca Records, and the legendary Grace Jones. Hairless Toys’ second and latest single, “Exploitation” advances and continues the effortlessly sleek, seductive sound of the album’s first single “Gone Fishing” as the song pairs skittering synths, angular busts of bass (that is until an incredible bass solo towards the end of the song) and syncopated percussion led by cowbell with Murphy’s breathy vocals. Certainly, the song is danceable but at its heart is a nuanced view of its narrator’s psyche, as the narrator finds herself in an exploitative relationship – but the song of exploitative relationship in which maybe both sides can be exploiting the other at various points.
The recently released official video has an interesting concept – it’s shot as though it were a trailer for a potentially banned noir-ish film in which the characters abuse and exploit each other psychologically to malevolent effect. It emphasizes and heightens the anxiousness that underpins the song.