Do It Again
Wall of Sound/Dog Triumph/Cooking Vinyl
These sorts of things are always stopgaps – the collaborative mini-album/EP – here we have Do It Again by Royksopp and Robyn, they’ve worked together before – it’s a marriage made in heaven and it’s mutually beneficial. The last Robyn album really nailed it, kick-ass pop record (I loathed her earliest work, couldn’t get the buzz at all) and for Rokysopp it’s been the opposite. Their fans will defend them, and though they do a great job of dipping into the mainstream while seeming (almost) far-too-arty for a lot of the people who buy their records it’s been diminishing returns. That first album was a triumph, an understated masterpiece, a wee lush gush of late-night wonder, since then it’s been rinse, repeat – and they’ve never quite had the hooks.
Robyn brings hooks.
Sayit has a lovely space-bounce to it, probably it’s what people were expected from Daft Punk when they intrigued and confounded with disco-redux – it’s like the collaboration between Janet Jackson and Kraftwerk that never ever happened.
But before we get to that we have the lovely 10-minute opener, Monument. I keep going back to that as the highlight – it’s the “frozen” production feel that suited Madonna best, hints of Jamie xx’s We’re New Here glitchy post-dubstep spacings – and just enough of a future disco-funk feel to it. Loping, lovely, full of longing. Robyn sells it. The Royksopp lads have constructed a nice piece around her vocals but it’s the emotion – and then sometimes emotionless tone in Robyn’s voice that sells it.
The title track is Sayit with extra party pills; pepped up and a little too lively to really mean anything to me. I can hear it as objectively decent modern pop but it’s actually the weak link on the album/EP for me.
Far more successful is Every Little Thing, a hint of Sebastien Tellier’s clipped-out dance-funk shapes, more vintage Cyndi Lauper than fly-by-nighter Lana Del Rey.
And then Inside The Idle Club is the bookending 10-minute epic. There’s no hook from Robyn this time, no vocals at all – instead this recalls In Space; a middle-aged version, the hints of techno and broken beat soul removed and the waft it signals something more akin to Eno’s soundscape/installation pieces. Still there’s an incredible movement to it – as the comedown of the album; very Kraftwerkian, a Radio-Activity vibe in fact.
It’s a more than decent stopgap, this. A smart new outing from Robyn, the best use of Rokysopp in a decade and none of the vacuity of struggling/overreaching pop – at its best it gets close to Bjork’s early peak. At its worst it’s still better than most of the work from Robyn’s pop contemporaries.