When Swedish dance duo Royksopp released their third LP “Junior” last year it was filled with pop tunes, featuring the vocal talents of Robyn and Lykke Li amongst others. It was another step forward their evolution from chilled-out synth-botherers to accessible popstrels. But wait, there’s a twist. With “Senior” they’ve taken a huge step backwards.
Naming this album “Senior” obviously isn’t a coincidence. In comparison to its predecessor this is a much more grown-up body of work, less for the teens on the dancefloor and more for the older electronic connoisseur. Opener “… And The Forest Began To Sing” is a slow-burning synth weepie that’s short but incredibly sweet, with its childlike melody. It moves straight into the gritty “Tricky Two”, which is basically “Tricky Tricky” from “Junior” stripped of Karin Dreijer Andersson’s haunting vocals. They’ve fleshed the melody out though, placing in more bleeps and hidden attention-grabbers that reward the listener for spinning the record several times. “The Alcoholic” is intriguing in that it defies how its title, starting with the opening of a can and then managing to be completely sunny and upbeat. Single “The Drug” loops around on itself constantly, using a very familiar set of notes and the occasional mystifying noise that puts the listener in a trance. “Forsaken Cowboy” almost sounds like it’s from a different LP altogether: despite the fact that it is just as blessed-out and relaxed as many of the other tracks on “Senior”, its guitar riffs mix it up and give the impression that you’ve landed in a very elegiac western movie.
However, it’s the tiny details that makes this album worth listening to, particularly through headphones where the true majesty of Royksopp’s layered ideas come together into a neat and beguiling package. It’s certainly not their best effort, nor is it completely alien to the casual Royksopp fan. But if you put enough effort into it, this is a very likable piece of spaced-out electronica.
This article should be appearing in Faux Magazine Online soon!