Review of Royksopp's album 'Junior'.
Depending on which side of the fence you sit on Royksopp either signalled the sign of new things to come in house or you just plain hate them. Either way its been 8 long years since their debut, Melody AM, which eagerly showed that there is common ground between disco and psychedelia. 'Junior' is their latest released, and the Norwegian duo seem to be drowning in the sea of mediocre house that's plagued the music scene since the early 1990's. Let me explain.
When 'Melody AM' dropped, it opened up possibilities. It was evident from listening the influence of the Pet Shop Boys was there, Pink Floyd was there. Now 'Junior', for the most part, seems to have left these influences for the garbage men as Royksopp take a more straight forward approach to the dance floor. Opening with laughter, 'Happy Up There' starts like a reprise of 'Eple', only it loses momentum quickly and is laden with a shoe-gaze style vocal that just seems to wash over everything else. A shame. The start of an album is vital. I hate setting things off on the wrong footing. Okay, the second track, 'The Girl and the Robot' features vocals by Robyn. You know her, the generic House vocal specialist who worked with Kleerup. With the kind of female vocal that has ensured every poor house track for the last 10 years has made it to the top ten, you'll forgive me for being bitter. She's big in her homeland of Sweden apparently. Personally, I'd like to keep it that way. Much to my disappointment the album proceeds in the same way. Old dance standards layered over old dance standards. Nothing new, nothing special. There are a few shy stabs at new wave guitar and a lean towards acid for a brief moment on a track, but honestly.I couldn't make it all the way through on first listen. I'm serious, its that bad.
The main difference here is that almost all the tracks have vocals. Now, this isn't something different for Royksopp, but on 'Junior' the addition of vocals seems only to have made their production lazier. Which is not good friends, not good. I found that the tracks seem to cater for the dreadfully selected vocalists. This album is Ibiza bound.our which ever other small pointless Mediterranean island is the new capital of mediocre dance nonsense.