The third album from Norway’s Röyksopp was Junior, released this week in 2009. While many acts choose to rest on their laurels or churn out rubbish with each album, Röyksopp somehow manage to get better with each release. Melody AM (2001) was excellent; and The Understanding (2005) was incredible; but Junior was quite exceptional.
The first sound you hear on Junior is a human chuckle, which quickly builds into the sound of Happy Up Here. It’s a chirpy little opener which is largely without parallel on this album, but it’s a nice way to kick the album off. Then comes the adorable The Girl and the Robot, featuring Robyn on vocals, in which she complains about being in love with some kind of high-class business type who basically behaves like a robot all the time.
This is an album without a weak spot, but it does have its slower moments, and after the aggressive energy of the first couple of tracks, Vision One, featuring long-time collaborator Anneli Drecker is incredibly beautiful. Then This Must Be It is incredibly powerful – with every track, the huge energetic synths just seem to push it forward with intense energy.
Another example is the instrumental Röyksopp Forever, which again is intense and beautiful. Then Lykke Li turns up to deliver the vocal on the wonderful Miss It So Much. Then Tricky Tricky follows, perhaps slightly weaker than its predecessors, but still undeniably a key part of an extremely good album.
Anneli Drecker turns up again for another exceptional vocal performance on You Don’t Have a Clue, probably my favourite track on this, one of my favourite albums. Silver Cruiser is slower but still strong, hinting somewhat at what was to come on the subsequent album Senior (2010).
The final tracks True to Life and It’s What I Want are every bit as glorious as the rest of the album, particularly the closing track. It’s almost hard to find words for an album that’s this perfect – Röyksopp have taken another step forward without diluting their core in the slightest. Truly exceptional.
If there’s one thing to criticise here, then as with many albums from 2008 and 2009, this does suffer from loudness. Perhaps one day, it will get the remaster that it deserves – but that’s no reason to dislike it now.
Three albums in, Röyksopp pulled another cracker out of the bag with Junior. And while we remain in suspense for whatever is coming next, it’s bound to be something incredibly special.
You can find Junior through all major music retailers, such as this one.