The title Dancing With Myself certainly seems apt for Irish artist Margaret O’Sullivan – better known as Femmepop – who actively involves herself in every aspect of the musical creative process, from composition to production to mix, ensuring that every element of her output has her personal stamp on it. This album is the latest in a lifetime of music for O’Sullivan, and follows several previous EPs and two albums under the Femmepop name, plus an EP release of earlier, pre-Femmepop, work.
The music throughout has a beautifully uncluttered clarity, topped by shimmering, clear vocals. The relative simplicity of the sound is hugely effective, and lays the way perfectly for the vocals to take the lead.
From the delicate introductory notes of Boys and Girls to the percussive bass of closing track Dancing With Myself – the title track a Billy Idol cover rendered beautifully into the Femmepop experience – the sound throughout is rhythmic, driving and infectious. The bass and beat of Bled For You influences an immediate urge to move, the vocals sweetening the sound whilst the lyrical content toughens it up.
This is strong music, with a message to carry. Powerful, socially conscious and feminist. It’s easy to automatically associate the idea of politically charged music with a rougher, shouter and punkier style, and it’s refreshing and enlightening to hear it wrapped within a sparkly and pop edged style.
Breakout, in particular, strikes out hard at the idea that women should ever just accept the inequality present in modern society. It’s damn near anthemic in content, with a driving, catchy feel. If any one track is the perfect representation of what I’ve said about the combination of prominent message and pop melody, then I think that this might well be it.