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Music Review: The Spooky And Eerie Röyksopp With Their Whimsical Senior

November 26th, 2010

Whimsical and enchanting. Eerie and spooky.

Röyksopp launches their new instrumental album, Senior.

In 2009, the Norwegian electronic band released the fantastic dance album Junior, which was a vocal heavy, harmony hefty and a winner on the dance floor. A range of songs that we would all have heard, but not necessarily know it was by this genius and eccentric band. My favourite release of theirs from Junior was definitely “The Girl And The Robot”, featuring the fabulous Swede, Robyn. Junior had serious energy, temper and was completely ostentatious – it was perfect.

You’re probably wondering why I’m rambling on about Junior so much, when the new album is actually called Senior. Well it’s because Senior is such a transition from the last album, you’d actually think you were listening to another band altogether. Now don’t get me wrong, this album is still a genius in it’s own right – but in a very different right.

As the album title suggests, this album is senior. As a senior, it’s a time to slow down a little and reflect. It’s introverted, full of dark secrets and distorted memories. The band quotes, “I’m old… I’ve got experience…”. It’s subdued and eerie. It’s a time to breathe slowly, swirl a glass of Cognac and close your eyes – let your mind and body wander.

…And The Forest Began To Sing is the introduction to the album. It sets a mood, and creates an environmental transformation. It mesmerizes you, into a relaxing and easy stupor.

It’s the start of an earthly and calming journey, a journey of reflection.

But it doesn’t take long for the heart rate to build up a little.

Tricky Two – the second chapter of Tricky Tricky from Junior. This time it’s instrumental only, fast paced, electronic bubbling and seriously regimented tones throughout. It’s an angry track, with a murderous and macabre beat. It would represent the time in a senior’s life where they are normally composed, but have been tipped over the edge. At a point where they are most enraged – foaming at the mouth. Infuriated.

The infuriation subsides… With the help of alcohol.

It diminishes the anger, but how long can one continue to drink their anger away? The Alcoholic is the next track. A beautiful melody, with elements of underlying sadness. It makes you feel sorry for the lonely old man over there who has been drinking most of his life. Indeed a beautiful piece of music. The sounds of water flowing, birds chirping and ambiance is where you feel transformed.

Senior Living has a sarcastic tone. It reminds me a little of The Golden Girls (an old TV show from the 90’s) when they go on vacation to Hawaii. It’s got a hula dance-like sound, but completely chilled down to a Café Del Mar tempo. It’s basically the musical equivalent of what senior living should be – slow and relaxed.

The Drug, Forsaken Cowboy, A Long, Long Way and Coming Home, all marvelous collections of chillout music. Quite inspirational, quite smooth… You almost expect the sound of whales in the background. I picture of waterscapes, desertion and serenity comes to mind.

The Fear, no it’s not a Lily Allen song. It’s a serious song. Seriously dramatic. It’s the crucial time of someone’s life. Are they dying? Is that why there is desertion and serenity to follow?

This album is so mystical, but tells such an amazing story. When I first heard Senior, I was able to make associations with the previous album. I was able to read into the differences and see beyond the music. But I think anyone will be able to understand what this album is about, without having to listen to Junior.

Every time I listen to Senior, I feel cleansed, refreshed and emancipated. Then I wake up and come back to reality.

I give this album a 6 out of 10.

It’s not as great as their past work, but it’s still worth a listen. If you’re not into slow, chillout music, don’t buy it… You’ll be bored almost immediately. Every time I’ve played it – I’ve always had people say “who is this? It’s beautiful”.

Climb on that horse and let it take you through the spooky enchanted forest… You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.