Roisin Murphy - Overpowered

When she sings about matters of the heart it doesn't sound heartless, too mechanical or slutty – what she does is enough to breathe chic life into the disco genre.

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Released 15 Oct 2007 | EMI | By Daniel Good | Rating: 3
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered

Former Moloko member Roisin Murphy is back with her second solo album, 'Overpowered', and although it isn't exactly that, it is certainly over-sexed with enough sleazy synths and funky melodies of sleek instrumentation to whet the appetite of most – even if it doesn't quite measure up to a full meal. 'Overpowered' is more like a mouth full of saliva; the whole album drips with love-lost, lust, and soul.

The strange, somewhat nonsensical lyrics of the opener and title track work well in the frothy gurgles of synth and bass, making a chorus like "as science struggles on to try to explain, anti-toxins flowing ever in to my brain" fit snugly. If this is a mad scientist's lab, then it's one cobbled together from movie-set pieces, forming a long chain of silly colours, glossy glass and dry ice. Strokes of electronic, manic harps tease the experiment along while Roisin's voice forms a crystal cave with slippery stalactites as backdrop, hanging precariously over the disco-pop a-bubbling.

In 'You Know Me Better', heavy, palpable breathing expels to the rhythm of house beats while happy digits of sound frolic past puddle splashes of effects. The production is just right, as it is in 'Checkin' On Me' - a touch here, a dab there, always trying to underpin Roisin's voice, tucking it in at each corner like bedsheets. It is odd to find the soul so prominent in each of these tracks. Roisin manages to imbue each song with a strong dose of sincerity that goes a long way to make them distinct from similar artists. It's unusual to find in mainstream and should be praised when spotted. Unlike others, when she sings about matters of the heart it doesn't sound heartless, too mechanical or slutty, what she does is enough to breathe chic life into the disco genre.

'Overpowered' surprises once or twice with invention, which should be enough to ensure its success. There is so much style here - and soul - but one wonders whether the weaker moments on the album suffer from lack of a brain.