Royksopp - Junior
Mon 6th Apr, 2009 Music Reviews 4492 viewsin
The Noords certainly have an interesting take on life, probably one borne out of spending the vast majority of each year in subzero temperatures. What a pleasant surprise it is though that, despite the cold, there are musical groups like Norwegian duo Röyksopp that can still deliver adventurous, warm music that knows no geographical – or meteorological – boundaries.
The Bergen-based duo has surfaced with their third studio album Junior – and it is a return to form following the lukewarm response to 2005’s The Understanding. Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge have been both reflective and projective with this one and, while it doesn’t stray so much from the formula that has seen them become household names with their unique take on bleepy, pop-laden electronica, they have nevertheless put together an energetic and entertaining album featuring a swag of female guest vocalists and collaborators.
Opening track and first single off the album Happy Up Here is vintage Röyksopp, featuring plenty of synth effects and atmospheric warblings reminiscent of their 2001 hit single Eple. The mood quickly changes, though, with the radio-friendly The Girl And The Robot featuring the vocals of talented Swedish vocalist Robyn (who, it is rumoured, also has a track in the pipeline with Snoop Doog). Vision One, meanwhile, is a dirty, bass-heavy cut featuring the voice of long-time Royksopp vocalist Anneli Drecker, who features on several other tracks including the emotional You Don’t Have A Clue and True To Life.
Elsewhere, Röyksopp Forever is a downtempo gem that will (you heard it here first folks!) find its way onto countless compilations in the coming year, such is its brilliant, warm feel and wicked strings. Silver Cruiser is another laid back cut that will likely be licensed far and wide.
Current Swedish ‘it’ girl and recent visitor to our shores, Lykke Li, also appears in typically sugary form on Miss It So Much. Her voice reminds me of Late Night Alumni’s Becky Williams; god only know how long it will be before we see her credited on some banging deep house vocal gems, but she’s certainly got a great voice and it works well on Miss It So Much. Pick of the album, for me at least, must go to the aggressive Tricky Tricky. With the raw vocals of Karin Dreijer-Andersson mixing with excellent use of synths and a building, edgy top line, this is one that, performed live, will bring the house down. Which begs the question; surely Röyksopp will return to our shores some time soon?
Regardless of when they return, Junior is a great listen and one sure to keep fans happy until they climb down from their weird wintery homeland. What will have fans salivating further is that the duo has a follow up album – Senior – slated for release later this year. As Berge explained in a recent interview with BBC Radio 1 reporter Damian Jones, Senior will be more introspective and withdrawn. ”[It will have] a greater emphasis on creating atmosphere as opposed to Junior which is more about immediate, direct energy,” he said. “You could say Junior has a spring feel to it and Senior has a more autumn mood to it.”
Whatever the season, we’ll just have to wait. In the interim though, Junior is a fantastic third album from Röyksopp, and gets better with each listen. Get on it!