‘Do It Again’: Robyn and Royksopp Hit The Scandinavian Future-Pop Sweet Spot (Album Review)


Robyn and Röyksopp are a match made in heaven — err, space.

Together, the two Scandinavian super-acts have toured the world and crafted tunes (Body Talk‘s “None Of Dem,” Junior‘s “The Girl And The Robot”), continuously pushing the boundaries of electronica and pop.

And lo and behold, they’ve just gone and done it again.

For super-fans of Robyn, the important thing to keep in mind before digging into the Do It Again mini-LP is that this is not, exclusively, a Robyn record. It’s a Röyksopp album, too — in fact, it’s more Röyksopp than Robyn. That means extended instrumental breaks and lush soundscapes, as opposed to nonstop dance-pop that colored the majority of Robyn’s Body Talk. (That’s not exactly a complaint — just level-setting here.)

“This will be my monument/This will be a beacon when I’m gone,” Robyn stoically declares across “Monument,” the appropriately epic-sounding intro that sets the tone for the rest of the record: “I will let this monument represent a moment of my life,” she monotones against ambient textures and a solid electronic thump. And then, woosh — the otherworldly electronica dissipates into the air. Robyn’s voice briefly coming in again for a moment. A marching drum beat fills out the speakers. An extended jazzy horn section for several minutes. It’s a complex production, although it doesn’t really elevate past the promise of its almighty opening verses.

The throbbing “Sayit,” which just got a headache-inducing, loop-heavy visual earlier this week, is essentially like listening to Robyn seductively teach a Speak & Spell its very first words: “I…want…you,” she purrs above the hard pulse, as the robot voice responds right back. Considering the world will soon be overtaken by sex robots by 2050, perhaps this is just an early preparatory manual.

And then it appears — the Body Talk moment of the record: “Do It Again.” I’ve already fangirled extensively over the song, although it bears repeating: Like a sparkling Scandinavian ode to Daft Punk‘s “One More Time,” Robyn and the Norwegian robot boys report to the dance floor and put the beat on re-pe-pe-peat. The surging bridge, with its And do it! And do it again! It feels immediately timeless — if only because Robyn demands that we keep doing it over and over again. And so, we do.

On the near opposite side of the spectrum, there’s “Every Little Thing,” an earnest, aching ode that blends ’90’s R&B Robyn with a very Junior-sounding slow burner of a production. “Every little thing I say, every little thing I do…it’s for you,” Robyn solemnly declares. Every little bit of the track is an earworm — especially that unbelievably catchy melody at the very end: “Baaaaaaby, why’d you falter? When you know I’m waiting, when you know I’m waiting here?” Pop perfection realized.

To provide the comedown, the album concludes with another 10-minute track, this time in the form of a moody instrumental: “Inside The Idle Hour Club.” As with Röyksopp’s Melody AM or Senior, the Norwegian pairing extract plenty of emotion out of electronic sound, taking us even further out of this world as the mini-LP comes to a close.

While Do It Again offers only a fleeting taste of what Robyn and Röyksopp have to offer — both electro-innovators are preparing to tour together and working on their own albums due out later this year (or next) — it’s still more to enough to keep our interest piqued, and certainly proof of the duo’s continuously impressive ability to innovate and evolve their sound.

And besides — there’s a replay button, so you can do it all over again. And again. And again.

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‘Do It Again’ will be released on May 26. (iTunes)

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