Junior, Royksopp’s third album proper, starts with a sample of producers Svein Berge and TorbjÃ¸rn Brundtland laughing like kids. It’s hard not to interpret this as a statement of intent. Especially if you consider the track that follows; -Happy up Here’ bounces in on a huge, rubbery space-hopper of a sample, trailing handclaps and a melody so sweet in its wake that my fillings ached listening to it. In light of the stately and propulsive electronica that informed The Understanding, there is no doubt that Royksopp see Junior as their -fun’ album. The opener is a little bit of a red herring however. Although the music is certainly playful and sometimes sunny, there are passages of melancholy (‘Silver Cruiser’), and nothing that follows is quite so in your face.
As ever, the soundscapes are meticulously crafted, and, in an age where grimly produced -blog-house’ records are ten a penny, something as precisely put together as the Moroder-esque -The Girl and the Robot’ stands out like a new Porsche at a stock car race. Indeed, like any other Royksopp album, Junior is nothing if not precision engineered. The production right across the board is stunningly crisp, the attention to detail minute. This is music that positively gleams. It’s no wonder they take years between albums.
In keeping with Royksopp tradition, the album is heavy on guest vocalists. This time they are mostly of the Scandinavian female variety. Robyn, Lykke Li and The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson all hop on this futuristic carousel and try not to slip off the lacquered production. On -Tricky Tricky’ Anderrsson gives Robyn’s -The Girl and the Robot’ a close run for the album’s highlight. Both songs are as good as anything in the band’s back catalogue.
Like Air’s Moon Safari and indeed the band’s own Melody A.M. expect this one to hang around for years.
Listen to the album here.