Let me preface this review by saying one thing. I hate “Poor Leno”. With every bone in my body that song drives me freakn’ batty. The annoying vocals, that synth progression and its inclusion on every other mix CD from 2002 on made it a quick way to piss me off and give me a headache to boot. So when I got the live CD from the band whose name cannot be spoken, I wasn’t really prepared for what I got. Ok to be fair the name Röyksopp can be spoken; I just can never remember how to pronounce it. It’s kind of like that guy you run into at the pub all the time who annoys the fuck out of you but you put up with because you’re with other people and it would be polite.
So thinking that I should have passed on the Röyksopp live album and reviewed a Kelly Clarkson album instead, I put the album in the old player. What came next was totally unexpected. Röyksopp Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge of Norway put together an album that is at once haunting and moving. Reminiscent of the French Cassius and a lesser-known band called Lake Trout, Röyksopp succeeds in bending the inspiration of a live show with the almost jazz feel of some of the tunes. As much as it pains me to say so “Poor Leno (Istanbul Forever Take)” is one of the best electro songs I’ve ever heard. It’s like the bastard child of Electro-Clash and the Cantina band from Star Wars. This take brings a grinding and celestial sound to the familiar “Poor Leno” riff and removes outright the vocals.
This EP is packed full of 40 minutes of goodness. It’s one of those albums that sneak up on you. You’ll be quietly listening to it in your car and suddenly find yourself tapping out the beats on your dashboard while you run over innocent old women who just happen to get in the way of your groove. “It’s not my fault officer. This album is funky!”