Just as autumn must follow summer, Senior must follow Junior. Röyksopp's poppy, peppy record from 2009, Junior included guest-star vocalists, bright effects, and catchy melodies; Röyksopp's dreamy, downtempo record from 2010, Senior includes neither vocals nor much in the way of four-four beats. For those who jumped on the Junior bandwagon -- and there were a lot of jumpers, since it surpassed all of their earlier records on the charts -- the music here will be seen as formless mood music, for better or worse.
On Junior, last year’s full-length release from Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp, there was plenty worth bringing to the dance floor. But an unexpected highlight was the instrumental “Röyksopp Forever,” featuring moody beats and a wickedly climactic violin section. The band promised more, and now they return with Junior’s mellow and fully instrumental counterpart, Senior.
Since debuting in the late 90s, Norwegian electro duo Röyksopp have clocked an average of four years between albums. Until now. Appearing just 18 months after 2009's well-received Junior, Senior is a slower, darker, entirely ?instrumental companion work, more in step with 2001's Melody A.M. One of the things we liked best about Junior was that Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland had finally tapped into their uptempo pop potential, as on monster club hit The Girl And The Robot (featuring Robyn).
Röyksopp's career arc to date has seen the Norwegian duo steadily developing into exquisite pop architects. Beginning with the comparatively muted Melody A.M. in 2001 and continuing through to 2005's brighter, bolder The Understanding, Röyksopp fully blossomed into electro-pop impresarios with last year's Junior, sculpting alternately effervescent and melancholic synthesized soundscapes to accompany an expressive cadre of female singers.
Be careful what you wish for. It’s a phrase that so often becomes painfully relevant in pop music. Take Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac records: those who didn’t “get” it were crying out for that long awaited OK Computer 2. What they got was Hail to the Thief, an uncomfortable return to rock that never quite finds its feet.
Makes a strong claim to be 2010’s best electronic album. Garry Mulholland 2010 Norway’s globally popular Röyksopp are known as purveyors of warm, melodic, vocal-led adult electronica. But their fourth album is likely to win admiration from those who’ve written the duo off as a mainstream, coffee-table affair. The first strictly instrumental album from Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland is a sumptuously realised journey through the soundscapes of the original masters of 70s synth music.
Oh dear. [a]Röyksopp[/a] want to be taken seriously. Best described as a Nordic electronic [a]We Are Scientists[/a] – funny, eccentric interviewees; purveyors of bright, balloon-light music of little consequence (but large sales) – [b]Svein Berge[/b] and [b]Torbjørn Brundtland[/b] suddenly feel compelled to get all introspective and existential.