Ah, Royksopp.... If I didn't know better I'd say you were attempting to make a very solid pop album. Successfully, might I add.
So how did I come to the conclusion that this was more of a pop effort than a dance one? Well alongside their normal vocal collaborators, we are also treated to the singing of Swedish popstrels Robyn and Lykke Li. Not really being a Robyn fan (find her a bit bland really), I was surprised that "Girl And The Robot" became my favourite song on the album. I might have preferred it if Alessi was singing but hey, you can't have it all and the sweeping synths more than make up for Robyn's apparent lack of vocal range. Lykke has been syphoned, perhaps predictably, to "Miss It So Much", a sweet little ditty halfway through the album where her childishly fey voice gradually finds room to maneuver into the more surprisingly powerful voice found on her own debut album.
But it's strange that Royksopp have put so much emphasis on the singing this time - it's almost as if they're trying to make up for something. All of the songs could probably get by without any vocals at all, so why certain tracks aren't allowed to just glide along like on "The Understanding" is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the pressure to create something that's more mainstream overall has bitten them finally - but that doesn't mean that it's not a great album. The idiosyncrasies of previous albums still shine through on tracks like "Vision One" and their harder edge manages to cut a little deeper on "Tricky Tricky".
It's worth remembering that Royksopp were perhaps one of the first bands to get in with the whole 80s theme before it was cool - now their time could finally have come. "Junior" is a solid album that grows on you with every play. Now I just need to put it on again - I might get to the "love it" stage soon!