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Royksopp - Junior
You could be forgiven for thinking Röyksopp were all but over.
While Melody AM made them massive in 2003, follow-up The Understanding was largely passed over two years later - producers of gardening programmes and travel documentaries opting to retain 'Poor Leno' as their soundtrack, rather than snatching up 'What Else Is There?'.
Instead, the Bergen duo are back on these shores, emerging from their town's perpetually damp climate clutching rays of spring sunshine. Early on, they pay homage to 'Eple' (the single that made their name), the breezy 'Vision One' moving in similar harmonic circles. Elsewhere, the way is cleared for a host of glacial guest vocalists: Robyn, The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson, Lykke Li and regular collaborator Anneli Drecker all contribute a pinch of their idiosyncrasies to the electro cauldron.
All are part of an immaculate pop conception, with Röyksopp adding more layered beats and textures than on any of their earlier output. Their songwriting has matured, too. Drecker's three songs are particularly good, while Andersson brings an edge to 'Tricky Tricky' which is augmented by the boys' dreamier textures. Only Lykke Li's song 'Miss It So Much' sounds routine.
In Junior, Röyksopp have crafted a well-balanced album - the upbeat vocalised numbers complimented by the blissfully chilled instrumentals that bookend them. Their past achievements have been nothing to turn your nose up at, and Junior turns out to be almost as good as their delectable debut - as cool, clear and refreshing as fjord water.
Blissful though this collection is, the pair won't be resting on their laurels for long: counterpart album Senior is expected in just a few months' time, with a darker side to their characters expected to emerge. Röyksopp are anything but over.