Check out my previous post on Röyksopp for more band info as well as songs from their previous LPs The Melody A.M., the Understanding and a recently released Happy Up Here EP as well as their “Happy Up Here” video, which is one of this years best already!

Anyways, let’s start with the album cover. When this art was released a while back, I thought to myself, atrocious! Almost as bad as Empire of the Sun‘s overly busy cover. But as I stared at the art while listening to Junior hour after hour, the cover art grew on me. What does the cover art mean!?!? Well let’s see, there is a moon rock/asteroid and someone holding a (ringing) telephone behind a set of trajectory-like grid patterns, to the right. On the left, there is a partial planet, weeds with lippy leaves, flowers with gaping eyes crying viscous blue tears which turn purple at the sight of Röyksopp’s feet. And in the centre are the stars of the show, with Torbjørn holding some twelve inchers and Svein on his weapon of choice–the keyboard.

How to put this all together? Well, obviously they are OUT OF THIS WORLD! *Chuckle chuckle* Jajajaja oh god, you can leave this site now. I had to make that cheesy remark. Desolée. But really now all kidding aside, the cover depicts a fictional world of intimate human-like greenscapes, masses of astronomical origin, and I really don’t know what the phone is all about but maybe it’s “calling” our curiosity forward into this weird, foreign, and hybrid world. Röyksopp, colored grey by the descending beam, is our connection between this known and unknown, between black and white and worlds of crying flowers and telecomoonication. Throw The Melody A.M. and the Understanding to the side for now folks, Junior is outer-space, the alien side to Röyksopp which we never really noticed before but not to worry, their familiar ambiance exposes itself from time to time. We are kept in the grey space of (un)familiarity.

The closing song “It’s What I Want”–sang by Röyksopp themselves, demonstrate what Röyksopp were really trying to do with this album. They want to keep it simple, keep it less complicated. Is this what they’ve done with this album? Well IMO I think their previous works are just as complex, err I mean simple, as Junior is. Simple and complicated are merely relative terms, and in the musical master minds of Röyksopp, one could only guess how much “less” work went into this fantastic, well produced and seemingly “less complicated” album.

Junior, is one of my most–and many other bloggers–anticipated releases outside of a collection of animals for 2009. It surely does not disappoint. Nearly every song in Junior is remix heaven. Not to mention the list of collaborations are oh so very impressive and compliment Röyksopp’s style immaculately. Club bangers like “Happy Up Here” and “The Girl and the Robot” ft. Robyn tastes of synth, pop, euphoric dance rhythms and electronic goodness making your entire anatomy tingle with excitement and locomotive pleasure.

They’ve really gone astray from their ambient, down-tempo, soft chill sound of The Melody A.M. and the Understanding–albums that had a 10:2 ratio of lounge to dance songs. With Junior, it seems they’ve decided to ditch the wine in hand and punched the locomotive jugular instead. Lounge to dance ratio –> 2:10.  Loves it.

There are songs that move away from house and delve into the realm of dream pop with tracks like “Miss it So Much” ft Lykke Li. OO Lykke is there any track you can’t make better!? Her Swedish pop tones so closely matches the soft rhythms layering each beat that this track could easily be mistaken for her own. I miss it so much…flick of the switch…hand on my heart…Röyksopp signs on a good friend also from Norway, Anneli Drecker, who like Lykke, helps to create a much lighter sound amidst slightly heavier beats. “You Don’t Have A Clue” a definite contestant for best song, amplifies Drecker’s voice, a voice that coos the sound waves into light airy strings which dance gently upon your ears, tickling them just enough to keep you smiling.

And so we move from the public displays of  foot stomping, air punches and rote pelvic thrusts back into the Royksoppian world where they work best. “Silver Cruiser” is the most similar to their former work, very lounge and very chill. This is the song to grab a seat on your couch and sit back and drift off into the spaces that Röyksopp designate in your soon to be wandering mind. Let them gently pull you in out of consciousness, letting you float in between void spaces of cerebral peace. Despite Junior not having many of these moments in comparison to former LPs,  Röyksopp reminds us that their sound and legacy will remain unforgotten. They please older fans with “Silver Cruiser”, “Vision One” and enlighten us with  “Röyksopp Forever”, a song inspired by ambient records that boom climactic violins circa Requiem of a Dream sans a constricted pupil intensity. From just the title one can only guess how fantastic the track is gonna be. Like Emancipator“Good Knight” kind of awesome. Long live Röyksopp!

The surprises and transitions don’t stop here. As if their friends list on this LP isn’t cool enough, they welcome back Karin Dreijer, who in my opinion, adds the most flavor to any track (let alone a Röyksopp track)! Dreijer sings SIX AFRAID OF SEVEN ‘CAUSE SEVEN EIGHT NINE! I’M ABOUT TO LOSE IT A SECOND TIME! STARING AT THE WALL HOUR AFTER HOUR! RUNNING UP AND DOWN OVER AND OVER! in “Tricky Tricky”, a five minute collage of menacing beats and outer space distortions. Yes this is exactly what the track is. A musical depiction of staring at the wall. Running up and down. Climbing up the walls. Over and over again. This track is by far the house-iest track as well as the darkest, most progressive, and un-Röyksoppian song on Junior.

Many songs stray away from that familiar Röyksopp flavor which emphasizes what they’re striving for with Junior. The fusing of eye and flower, lip and leaf, black and white. Röyksopp essentially create their own version of a Grey Album, a work so full of different frequencies, styles, and (un)Röyksoppian flare that in the end, expose each other as being wonderfully complimentary. People, Junior is utterly fantastic and is defs gonna be in the top of ’09. I can feeeeeeeel it! Phone home Röyksopp! We have have ascended!…Aaah maybe I had something goin’ with the cover art after all…now where can I get those floeyers…

It’s a tricky tricky this little one two, well if it’s a lunatic we’ll blame it after you. Put it in your pocket and pick it up. WE’RE HERE TO ENTERTAIN, SHOW THEM WHAT YOU’VE GOT.

I give Röyksopp – Junior a 9.0 out of 10!

Pre-order the album here!!!
Check out more Röyksopp goodness here!

MP3: Röyksopp – Miss It So Much (ft. Lykke Li)

MP3: Röyksopp – Tricky Tricky (ft. Karin Dreijer)

MP3: Röyksopp – Röyksopp Forever

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