Norwegian electronic music duo Röyksopp and Swedish pop dynamo Robyn reunite with their mini-album Do It Again. It serves not only as a preview to Röyksopp’s upcoming album, but also as an extension on previous collaborations.
Whilst the 2009 single The Girl and the Robot is perky, quirky melodic pop, this new effort is a different beast. The ominous opener Monument is a fine, hypnotic example of Scandinavian iciness and melancholy that evokes a bit of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill. It is a synth-soaked spiritual spectacle, sliced open by spine-tingling cymbals and keyboard/vocal loops before being soothed by Robyn’s restrained yet reassuring vocals. The 10-minute length allows the track to meander to strange places, with a wounded saxophone solo and tribal drums featuring at the end.
Sayit is a discordant, fidgety house track that will get people dancing. It is a tad scary, as a robotic voice mutters ‘I want you’ and other phrases with nihilistic menace. Listeners may wonder what Robyn is really saying in response to the robot; is she surrendering to the robot with ‘I want you too?’, or is she instructing the robot with ‘I want you to…?’
The title track is the closest to Robyn’s traditional pop sound. However, it is ironic that the lyrics allude to ‘the build-up’, where there is no need for one. Röyksopp’s euphoric synths and Robyn’s shrill, emphatic vocals ensure that Do It Again remains delightfully bright and warm throughout, without depending on an epic bass drop.
The keyboards on the forlorn mid-tempo ballad Every Little Thing sparkle like a Giorgio Moroder film soundtrack yet complement Robyn’s subdued anger. The closing refrain is one of the better moments on this mini-album, thanks to its memorable melody and Robyn’s eerie harmonies (‘baby, while you falter, when you know I’m waiting…’).
The 10-minute instrumental Inside the Idle Hour Club ends the album with more of those chilly yet comforting analog synth sounds. They create a languid ambience suited to the end of a night out, before building up with flute-like flourishes, a low-pitched bass that stalks the listener and warm synthesised choirs that are a stark contrast to the frosty opener.
Do It Again is overall a highly successful collaboration between two of Scandinavia’s most talented synth-pop acts. Listeners should hope that they do an entire album together in the future.