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One of the most beloved and best selling artists in the electronic genre, Royksopp returns with this highly anticipated 2nd album The Understanding. Combining lush atmospherics with swoonworthy pop, the Norwegian duo deliver a delectable follow-up to their worldwide hit Melody AM. Contains 12 total tracks. Astralwerks. 2005.
In 2002, the Norwegian duo of Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland found a sweet spot between wispy Moon Safari-style pop and Boards of Canada-like atmospherics on the widely-admired Melody A.M. The Understanding sounds relatively absent-minded, careening around the room like a panicky fly. Some of it works well; the bouncy "Only This Moment" resembles Fischerspooner at their silliest (and thus, most fun), while "49 Percent" gets a huge lift from a New Jack vocal courtesy of Chelonis R. Jones. But the record is too often thwarted by syrupy synth-pop ("Follow My Ruin") as well as the lack of shifty downtempo rhythms and avant-garde underpinnings that kept Melody so pleasantly grounded. They havent lost their knack for subtle hooks and well-placed cross-rhythms, like the slippery keyboard squibble that glides its way into "What Else Is There?" But the sophomore curse is hard to overcome, and though theres plenty here to recommend, Berge and Brundtland arent able to break the spell. NOTE: The limited edition version of the record includes an all-new 5-song B-Side EP. Matthew CookeSee all Editorial Reviews