Ruby Blue is the first solo album by Roisin Murphy, the singer of the duo Moloko.
Roisin Murphy has performed in projects outside Moloko before (she sang on the first Dysfunctional Psychedelic Waltons single), but Ruby Blue seems more like a parting shot from Moloko than a side project.
For this album she has collaborated with Matthew Herbert. Matthew Herbert - a star in his own right - has recorded many albums under various names, as well as collaborating on a record with his girlfriend Dani Siciliano. His contribution to this record is huge.
The record will instantly sound familiar to Moloko fans. Roisin Murphy's voice is distinctive, and the skittery tunes she composes are in place on Ruby Blue. Even though her voice is soulful, the nervous feel keeps Ruby Blue from being either a soul record or a dance record. It is a listening record. While she has many dedicated fans that will love this record, I don't think Ruby Blue will bring new fans or chart success.
Dear Diary has vocals that may remind you of Curtis Mayfield at times, in the same way that Siesta recording artists Edwin Moses do.
If We’re In Love is a great dance track that does not have the uncomfortable nervousness that so many of the other tracks exude. Fittingly, it is the first single from the record.
The album's highlight is Ramalama (Bang Bang). The track sounds like it could have been a Moloko single. It is as catchy and quirky as the Rameses - Collosus line in Indigo (from their Things To Make And Do record).
The title track is another highlight. It has a fuzz bass, handclaps, and tons of 'tude. There is a mambo riff in the song that sounds like someone has been listening to the under-appreciated German band De Phazz. At 2:45, Ruby Blue is a track that could have stayed around a bit longer.
Off on It is another of the quirky tracks until the 4 minute mark, when she starts repeating off on it like it is a mantra chanted during aerobics.
The record closes with Closing Of The Doors, a dramatic slow song that crosses Carole King and The Divine Comedy. The song works well, and contains some heartfelt lyrics that Roisin delevers impeccably.
Though there are individual tracks that are really enjoyable to listen to, the album is difficult to play all the way though unless you are following the lyrics (included in the booklet) and really involving yourself in the tunes.