Clearly Róisín Murphy albums are like London buses – you wait eight years for one, and then two come along in the space of a year! ‘Take Her Up To Monto’ – its title inspired by an Irish folksong – comes from the same sessions as ‘Hairless Toys’, and has the same disregard for commercial pop settings and conventional songwriting. That’s not to say it is particularly difficult to listen to, but that Murphy allows herself complete freedom of expression. If anything this is the more emotional album, as she is singing mostly about her partner, which could explain heartfelt lyrical statements such as ‘I just want you to look upon me, see the good inside’. ‘Mastermind’ is a great opener, setting the scene and the atmosphere, while ‘Pretty Gardens’ is a slow burner that opens out dramatically. By contrast ‘Lip Service’ sways to a bossa nova inspired beat, further evidence that one of our finest and most eclectic songwriters refuses to be pinned down. It may not be commercially successful, but Róisín Murphy’s way is one that continues to command respect.
4 out of 5
Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood