Röyksopp’s last album Junior garnered much less press attention than it deserved, but that’s what resting for four years between albums will do for you. Robyn and Karin Dreijer-Anderson (Knife/Fever Ray) added their considerable talents to what amounted to a Scandinavian electropop supergroup album, and although both those collaborators have shone brighter on their own, Junior was lovely enough to warm the heart of a cadaver. Senior was originally intended to be released alongside Junior but got held up and there is consequently a sense of momentum being lost. Never mind, because it’s here now and it’s largely very good.
Röyksopp will forever be associated in some people’s minds with the chill-out boom of the early ’00s, as tracks from their debut Melody A.M. provided the soundtrack to a trillion dinner parties and countless more TV travel documentaries. Senior will do little to change that. Having lost some ground on 2005’s underrated The Understanding, with Junior Röyksopp showed their instinct for melody and melancholic dance music had increased rather than diminished in the interim. But whereas that record veered into Balearic house on tracks like ‘You Don’t Have A Clue’, Senior goes full-on ambient – eschewing vocals completely and even sounding like Boards Of Canada in places, with birdsong twittering away, scratchy vinyl samples and eerie ghosts of song wafting in and out it. The travel documentaries may be a thing of the past, but Röyksopp will be quids-in should Derek Acorah’s soundtrack people get hold of their latest work. If the mood can become soporific at times, there’s always a nagging tune waiting around the corner; ‘Senior Living’ and ‘The Drug’ being standouts. Fans can approach Senior with confidence, but the unconverted will remain just that.