Röyksopp – Melody A.M.
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Melody A.M. came out quite a while ago, but if you were hoping this would be a catch-up rave or a late-breaking pan we're going to have to disappoint: Röyksopp are, ultimately, too beautiful to hate and too harmless to really love.
You might already be familiar with this Norwegian pair from their appearance on every downtempo or electronic pop compilation ever made. These compilations, which have spread across the recent musical landscape like mellowed-out and occasionally groovy dandelions, are basically the result of a few people noticing that slick-and-dreamy trip-hop and records like Air's Moon Safari could be appreciated by practically anyone: embraced by clubbers during their daytime hours, yes, and appreciated by ostensibly clued-up rock hipsters, but just as appealing to someone who never cared about being clued-up in the first place. All across the Western world, it was discovered, happy thirty-something couples with business degrees and Jettas could pick up free downtempo samplers at Crate & Barrel and-- we might imagine-- enjoy Zero 7, Badly Drawn Boy, and housed-up Dido remixes while lighting candles and taking baths. People who find this horrible will recall Dirty Vegas' "Days Go By" and call it all "music for car commercials," but on a certain level they're just being condescending and mean-spirited: People like this stuff because it's pleasant and reasonably interesting.
Röyksopp, you should know, are the heirs to exactly this lineage, having picked up the crown Air once wore and set it on top of creamy, accessible house music. Their own tracks are languid but funky, occasionally revving up into a friendly house throb and occasionally laying back into sunny crooning very much like Moon Safari's-- I'm not completely convinced "Sparks" wasn't actually on that record. Röyksopp's many compilation appearances are based in part on that, but just as much on their stunningly consistent string of truly amazing remixes-- a string that culminated last year with their getting inside the dauntingly singular world of The Streets, turning "Weak Become Heroes" inside-out into an ecstatic gush Mike Skinner would likely never have dreamed of.