Royksopp - Melody A.M.This is one of those things that just sounds so unlikely the first time someone mentions it to you – oh, it’s a lounge/dance music outfit from Norway, you’ll love it. Sure, whatever, you think, and a couple of months after hearing it, you’ve got a copy of the bloody thing sitting on your CD shelf. Royksopp is actually a duo, though in this case it’s a duo of musical hermit crabs, both adept enough in studio trickery to make themselves sound like a full band, and sometimes more.

The hook that really drew me into this CD was “Royksopp’s Night Out”, a quirky mock-orchestral instrumental which sounds like maybe it’s trying to be something grand and epic…and then sounds like maybe it’s just been pulling your leg from the word go. There’s something here that reminds me of Alan Parsons’ best instrumental pieces, both in terms of execution/style and song length, and it always grabs me. In a good way.

Running a close second on my favorites list for this album is the light vocal dance number “Remind Me”, a less elaborate tune which is still catchy, and sounds like it’s been sent forward in time from the early 80s new wave/new romantic movement. Musically, it’s exceedingly simple – a verse of the vocal, followed by a keyboard echoing the same melody note for note, and nothing ever really resolves into something you could definitively call a chorus. But it’s hooky enough to reel me in for repeated listens.

Other highlights include the smoky, jazzy female vocal of “Sparks”, and the trippy rhythms of “So Easy” and “Epie”. Aside from the Alan Parsons instrumentals, Melody A.M. also reminds me of Art Of Noise’s adventurous Seduction Of Claude Debussy, an album I’ve grown to appreciate much more since I initially reviewed it.

4 out of 4Melody A.M. is an album that just about anyone could find enjoyable, even if only one or two songs grab them immediately, and Royksopp is just one fortuitous inclusion in the soundtrack of a movie, TV show or commercial away from getting some massive exposure. But you can beat the rush and check them out early – this is some good stuff.

Order this CD

  1. So Easy (4:10)
  2. Epie (6:14)
  3. Sparks (5:27)
  4. In Space (3:33)
  5. Poor Leno (4:00)
  6. Higher Place (4:33)
  7. Royksopp’s Night Out (7:33)
  8. Remind Me (3:41)
  9. She’s So (5:24)
  10. 40 Years Back \ Come (4:45)

Released by: Wall Of Sound
Release date: 2002
Total running time: 49:22