Label: Wall of Sound Release date: 16/09/10 Website: Rokysopp Official Myspace Buy/Stream: Amazon/Spotify Röyksopp’s last record was recorded at the same time as this one; Junior and Senior are partner pieces, both representing a different side to the band, and whilst they’re both whole in their own right, it’s in contrast that their true extent is revealed. Senior, the natural follow up, demonstrates the darker, more progressive tendencies of the Norwegian duo; is it a side to them we want to hear? ‘...And The Forest Began To Sing’ is slightly misleading as an intro the album; its lilting, reversed synth and ambling bass line is pretty and disarming, and somehow makes the brooding, rhythmic riff that opens ‘Tricky Two’ all the more gripping. What Röyksopp have always excelled in is starting off with one refrain and deftly, tenderly shifting perspective with an unexpected key change, or an almost imperceptible rhythmic variation. Like the best instrumental electro, in this way can Röyksopp songs be said to be both simple and complex, and ‘Senior‘ is no different. ‘Tricky Two‘ is a steadily building, compelling tune, and just when you think it must surely begin to peter out it bottoms out, slows down, becomes more melodic and a little whimsical and makes me realise just how signature and idiosyncratic Röyksopp’s sound has become. ‘The Alcoholic’ follows and is easily one of the best tracks on the record. The synth melody is conveyed through some crazy kind of modulation; I don't really know how to explain it but it absolutely nails it. The gentle swell of the motif gives away just as it becomes familiar to a melancholy guitar line and, eventually, the softly-softly tweeting of birds. Then, the whole thing is drowned in rainfall, save but for the occasional remnant of birdsong. It’s quite beautiful. Make no mistake, this is classic Röyksopp. For all their subtleties, some songs like ‘Senior Living‘ do stray a little too close to Air-esque, or seem to slightly cannabilize previous records of their own. It’s an entirely minor criticism though, considering Röyksopp's output is so bloody good. The latter half of the album is so pregnant with atmosphere that it puts the former half into perspective. This really is a record for contemplating on, or to, and certainly not for simply enjoying with the same reckless abandon you were almost encouraged to with Junior. Still, if there's one thing that the Dane's prove on this record, it's that despite being made tons of songs and going all mature, they can still make you smile like a youthful version of yourself, hearing their majesty for the first time.
Photobucket