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Monday
May112009

ROYKSOPP || Junior

Royksopp
Junior
Label: Astralwerks
Released on: March 23rd, 2009
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

These guys can do no wrong. Royksopp put out a strong debut, Melody A.M., which was full of some of the best chill-out music we’ll probably ever know. Then they missed their sophomore slump on The Understanding by moving out of the comfortable territory they setup for themselves on the first album. With this third album, Junior, they’ve really managed to top themselves.

Junior is a flawless marriage of the Chill-out soundscapes on Melody A.M. and the upbeat sensibility of The Understanding. Every song is a highlight in itself, ranging from the bouncy opener ‘Happy Up Here’ to the sheer Electro motorway that Robyn’s guest vocal track ‘The Girl and the Robot’ races down. The Norwegian duo are once again not afraid to take risks on this album - with stellar results. The third track on the album, ‘Vision One,’ relies heavily on a sprawling bass sine wave throughout nearly the entirety of the track. If it sounds familiar to hardcore Royksopp fans, that’s because it’s a reworked remix they did for Japanese pop singer, Eri Nobuchika – only this time around, longtime Royksopp guest, Anneli Drecker, lays the vocals down . . . in English! The highlight tracks of this album, without a doubt, are the Karin Dreijer guest spots.

While I am a devout fan of Dreijer’s work in The Knife and Fever Ray, anyone can appreciate ‘This Must Be It,’ a propulsive dance track that absolutely transcends anything Royksopp have done in the past. Dreijer’s ever-so-emotive vocals are the most prominent element in the mix, and rightly so. Let’s not forget that her work on Royksopp’s ‘What Else Is There’ transformed the song into what became the most successful single off of their second album. The second Dreijer guest spot, ‘Tricky Tricky,’ is a playful track in the same vein as almost anything off of The Knife’s Deep Cuts. With its “is 6 afraid of 7? ‘Cause 7, 8, 9” verses; it’s sure to be one that sticks in your head long after it’s over.

From the vastly atmospheric instrumentals to the easily digestible guest vocal tracks (also look out for a Lykke Li spot), “Junior” is a surefire winner from start to finish. Royksopp have successfully expanded their sound into something truly their own, an inimitable palette of sonic ear candy. Keep an ear open for them in the future; they’ll just keep getting better.  

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