It is hard to believe four years have passed since Royksopp dropped their second LP The Understanding to the masses and that it’s been eight years since the native Norwegians graced the world stage with the magnificent debut record Melody A.M..
For its third release (with a fourth planned for later this year), Royksopp’s Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland came up with some instrumental gems, but opted to make a mainly vocal-based record, with their own pipes alongside guests including long-time collaborator Anneli Drecker (on "Vision One"), rising young Norway pop star Lykke Li (“Miss It So Much”), Robyn and others.
Cutting right to the chase, Junior is simply the most consistent and playful album Royksopp has recorded yet. Let me count the ways.
The clap-happy first single and mind-trip of a video “Happy Up Here” is chock full of light-hearted electronics and vocals, and also features a Parliament sample. Thus, it’s a proper introduction to a record full of coolness.
The hot dance track “The Girl And The Robot” sounds like a New Order “Blue Monday” remix-meets-Madonna’s “Hung Up.” It also sees the recently resurrected Swedish pop star Robyn making a cameo and singing about loneliness and frustration about her man working like a robot. It’s a situation so bad she goes “mental” over it and later resorts to watching MTV, which does nothing for her: “Fell asleep again in front of MTV…No one’s singing songs for me”.
On “Vision One” (and to a lesser extent “Happy Up Here”), Royksopp prove they are on the cutting edge in synthesizer technology. The deep, expanding and contracting synth used here is more than rad cool. It’s bleepin’ awesome, especially when heard through high quality headphones or stereo system. The amount of well-produced and structured otherworldly soundscapes on this album is enough to make the likes of Daft Punk and Air jealous.