Royksopp: Svein Berge, Torbjorn Brundtland.
THE UNDERSTANDING, the long-awaited follow-up to Royksopp's acclaimed MELODY A.M., finds the Norwegian electronica duo refining their atmospheric sound. On many tracks here, Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge focus on more accessible pop-song structures. "Only This Moment" is a surging, Pet Shop Boys-like dance number, and "49 Percent" ventures into contemporary-R&B territory, while "Follow My Ruin" is an '80s-inspired tune, replete with funky bass and synth-drum rolls.
Although the guest vocalists on THE UNDERSTANDING don't quite complement Royksopp the way Erlend Oye and Anneli Drecker did on MELODY A.M., there's still plenty to please fans of the breezy earlier album, particularly the pulsing "Beautiful Day Without You" and the gently shuffling "Someone Like Me." A departure, but not a complete about-face, THE UNDERSTANDING reveals new aspects of Royksopp, without abandoning the dreamy, keyboard-heavy aesthetic associated with the group.
What the critics say...
Spin (pp.98-99) - "THE UNDERSTANDING finds Royksopp intentionally aiming for the super-clubs....Their harder sound is still offset by softer edges." - Grade: B+
Magnet (p.110) - "The duo traipses through all kinds of post-Kraftwerk, European electronic sounds, doing Erasure better than Erasure..."