Album Title: Junior
Performers: Royksopp
Label: Astralwerks
Play Time:
Recorded: 2008

If Toronto's MSTRKFRT are the hooligans of electro punk and France's Daft Punk the robotic bad boys of future funk, Royksopp from Bergen, Norway (translated: "smoke mushrooms") are the Vangelis-loving, techno-operatic alchemists of synth pop majesty.

The duo's fourth album Junior drops robo-funk into gooey candy droplets ("Happy Up Here"), imagines sexual enrichment with future appliances ("The Girl and The Robot"), rips off the melody from Stevie Wonder's "Too High" ("Vision One") and challenges Portishead for utter darkness ("Silver Cruiser")... among other sonic wonders.

At the heart of Royksopp's delirious artistry lies a real understanding of what constitutes sonic beauty. And in a world in short supply of soothing sounds and creative imagination, Junior delivers. Who knows how they do it but Royksopp's Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge turn cold software programs into the equivalent of warm country streams, epic mountain vistas and intimate kitty-cat moments - all with a beat, of course. Junior's sonic sheen is purely liquid, bathing the listener in luxuriant sounds, flowing beats and lush strings all offset by the duo's choice of vocalists who create a foil to Junior's grooves 'n' plush message.

Lykke Li releases her cosmic girlish yap on "Miss It So Much", Karin Dreijer (of The Knife) creates a tormented alternative to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O on "Tricky Tricky", Robyn fills "The Girl and the Robot" with borderline fear turned sexual desperation and Junior's closer
"It's What I Want" changes pace to march down a hardened city block like the Pet Shop Boys after a big night out. But we like our Royskopp love soft, not hard. Junior complies.