Long considered as the thinking man's Norwegian electronic duo, Royksopp seem to have decided that beguiling soundscapes are so 2001, and this album seems to signal that (whisper it) R?opp have gone pop.
Opener and first single 'Happy Up Here' is a clear statement of intent. The familiar Royksopp beat and repetitive pattern are still in order, but the whole thing has an almost gaudy shine to it as it beeps almost annoyingly along. Good news for the boys though - it possesses the right amount of 'quirkiness' for the mobile phone dollars to surely come rolling in again.
Moan over, the rest of the album shows an impressive study of the history of great electro music. 'The Girl and the Robot' is the best thing that Robyn's ever laid her vocal chords onto - coming over like Depeche Mode crossed with classic rave music, and 'This Must Be It' is 92-era Bjork's paranoid cousin.
The album has been described as having a 'spring feel,' with its counterpart 'Senior' being the 'autumn' album and therefore coming out later in the year. 'Spring feel' is maybe a bit too far - the apocalyptic string sections in 'Royksopp Forever' are the last thing to soundtrack daffodils and Easter bunnies, but there are moments of real euphoria in this record. 'Miss It So Much' fits the bill best, as dreamy synths lap up against vocals which have been beamed down from a constantly sunny planet.
Older fans may resent this realigning directly towards the mainstream, but the rest of us should enjoy this for what it is, and that is a glossy and great pop record. The album ends in a similar vein to how it began, with the uplifting chord sequence of 'It's What I Want,' which provides the final high to a massive happy night out of a record.