Sunday, March 29, 2009

junior by röyksopp

Go ahead, take a good look at...the album artwork? Yeah...I don't know either. Regardless of puzzling visuals (seriously...who knew Dali was alive and kicking in the 80s?), Röyksopp's third album Junior (out now -- in case you too have been asleep at the wheel) is really good. An excellent way to cap off our beat-heavy March.

Considering my unabashed love for Air, you think I'd already be on the Röyksopp bandwagon. I must admit that it's times like this that I realize futility of masquerading as someone with all encompassing knowledge of the musical landscape. Sometimes bands just fall by the wayside. But with indie-friendly guest spots, and easy-to-digest retro-smooth songs, it's only a matter of time before Junior gets gobbled up by mainstream marketing. Hey, it worked for Moby.

The instrumental tracks all play with understated melodrama. Where Cut Copy's (the other retro-electro men currently living in my mind and playlist and thus this month's arbitrary point of reference) music explodes in an auditory, all-encompassing rainbow, Röyksopp's music wraps the listener in a cooler palette, tinted with an air of self-importance. Good -- my megalomania has gone severely undernourished as of late. No really: you cannot listen to "Royksopp Forever" without delusions of cinematic grander. You just can't. Music supervisors: this is where the heroine has her dramatic, late-night, introspective realization. In slow motion.

Sorry, I got nothing here. Unless the real drama is realizing that the key to Junior really lies in the guest spots. Womens' voices skating atop Röyksopp's frosty muted-rainbow base, we're treated to to Robyn's sultry dance-club croon ("The Girl And The Robot"), to Lykke Li's girlish whisper ("Miss It So Much" easily matching up to anything on last year's debut album Youth Novels) and to Fever Ray's Karin Dreijer Andersson's howling over aggressive beats on "Tricky Tricky," -- a track that wouldn't be out of place on her next album with The Knife. The amazing part is that, somehow, all these otherwise disparate styles manage to work on what's essentially the same musical base -- sort of an alluring version of elevator music karaoke. Although to be fair, if elevator music contained half the sex-appeal of Junior's instrumental tracks and bases, I'd never take the stairs. Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland are very good at choosing their friends.

Like I said, this is good stuff. Röyksopp has created a cool world full of kitschy possibility. A world where, if they're to be believed, a perfectly-polished electronica album is enough to make even mutant-eye flowers cry tears of joy.

mp3: "Happy Birthday" by Röyksopp

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