For the past decade, Röyksopp has made critically acclaimed ambient trip hop and downbeat. Their debut album, Melody A.M. received 4.5/5 stars from All Music. That album’s successor, The Understanding received a 8.1/10 from Pitchfork Media. And their last album, 2009’s Junior received 4/5 stars from The Guardian, The Times, and Urb. With all the critical acclaim, it is no surprise that expectations are high for the group’s fourth album, Senior.
While expectations do exist, I do not think they are something that should be worried about; after all, it appears as though Royksopp can do no wrong. So Royksopp does what any group would do in their position, they give the people more of the same downtempo they have come to love and expect. But that is not to say that Senior is just a remaking of Junior. Junior was poppy and upbeat with a myriad of guest vocalists; Senior is the exact opposite. Senior is completely instrumental and the majority of it is relaxed downtempo. “The Drug” stands out for its ability to be both catchy and relaxed. It’s warm synth bass tones and minimalist drum beat works perfectly to create a lush dream-like atmosphere.
The entire album continues on with that dream-like atmosphere; it sounds like elevator music on heroine. The one notable exception is “Forsaken Cowboy”. The track is a hokey acoustic guitar track that is awkwardly placed in the middle of the record. The song sticks out like a sore thumb; luckily, it is the only track of its kind on the album.
With the exception of “Foresaken Cowboy”, Senior is a near perfect record. The twelve-minute ending track “A Long, Long Way” is fairly useless but certainly not offensive in any way. It does nothing to damage the record’s pathos. Overall, Senior is another triumph for Norwegian duo.
MP3: Royksopp “The Drug”
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