Norway’s best export (sorry, A-ha) returns from their sophomore slump with a posse of popular lady friends and a pleasing set of atmospheric dance-pop.
Röyksopp’s best quality—their buoyant happiness—is also what threatened to capsize their last disc, 2005’s The Understanding, which was too radio-friendly for many fans of their sublime debut. One gets the sense, looking at Junior‘s guest list, that Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge felt like they needed to prove their relevance after four years away: Lykki Li, Robyn, and The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson are all on board. Robyn’s “The Girl and the Robot” is a drama class and dance floor gold rolled into one. “God, I’m at the bottom,” she sings over a pulsing bass line, her voice reaching up to a falsetto. “Call me, I’m so alone.” Andersson owns the disc’s climax with “Tricky Tricky,” a six-minute hyper electro romp that builds into a spacey crescendo. Neither of these actually sounds like Röyksopp. Three collaborations with their pal Anneli Drecker fill that gap, and bubbly lead single “Happy Up Here” more than makes up for the two throwaway instrumentals.
Christian W. Smith
File under: Annie, Moby, Groove Armada