With a prolific summer itinerary that includes a coveted headline slot at Latitude, Robyn and Röyksopp are benevolently providing a caveat. Smooshing their brains together, the combined musical power of three of Scandinavia’s biggest and brightest talents is going to be 101% mesmerising, right? It’s gotta be like when the Nazis open the Ark Of The Covenant, surely? After all, their previous collisions have given us über-ditties such as “None Of Dem” and “The Girl And The Robot”. Mmhmm.
Set to be a ‘mini-album’ of sorts, though there’s only five tracks (two are pretty beefy however), Do It Again is sort of something we’ve been waiting for for a long-ass time. Though both phenomenal (and that can’t be understated) artists in their own right, how many times have you gone “Phwoar, imagine if Röyksopp’s next album just had Robyn on vocals?!” or “Can you imagine if Röyksopp produced Body Talk pt. IV?!” This should satiate that perma-hunger of the past few years; while Do It Again isn’t a solo project for either, there are moments that lend themselves to each party. Anyway, it might be as close as we’ll ever get to our dreams being fully realised.
“Monument” skulks and murmurs, deep throbs penetrating glasslike synths and a gradual, climactic volley of synths. Robyn’s idiosyncratic croon pierces through, more fragile and solemn than perhaps she’s demonstrated in recent years – it’s not a ballad, and though she’s revealed emotion and a delicate side in tracks like “With Every Heartbeat” or “Indestructible”, there’s never been the innate fear that grips “Monument”. It’s refreshing, and with Röyksopp’s sonic menace expanding like a charcoal-black mist, it excels at putting a new side to each artist under the spotlight. It reaches a natural end at around 3:30, but continues for another 6 minutes – saxophones creep from the shadows, and it slowly descends from a sci-fi hymn to a vaguely jazzy jamtastrophe, full of bent rhythms and jerky motifs that may have benefited from a tauter edit.
More akin to a classic Robyn x Röyksopp collab, the title track is poised for sticky club dancefloors. It’s got a widened grit, a grazed elegance that Robyn’s solo synth-gloss eschews and Röyksopp’s solo material can’t reach sans Robyn. The lyrics imply a heckuva bad influence: “Don’t care what they say/don’t wanna stop/I know I should”, and the synts an impish, carefree glimmer of mischief. Perhaps the two entities could make this apart, but when it sounds so great, and seems so easy together, why go through the ordeal?
Ultimately, they bolster each other on Do It Again. For the two artists, it’s not groundbreaking – it is a nice dollop of sideways expansion, revealing new areas that neither can quite achieve separately, but it’s not like we see them bound needlessly into covers of vintage swing anthems or tackle 160bpm funk-metal. Röyksopp lure out Robyn’s oft-hinted demonic side, more so than her Machiavellian romantic antics, and in turn, Robyn unchains Röyksopp, allowing them to venture more wildly into both the avante-garde and the pop, carried by the anchoring timbre of Robyn’s coo. Given it’s taken this long for a proper union between the two to appear, and also given their propensity for innovation, there’s a real chance we won’t see more releases like this. However, if this is a hint at what either of their next records sounds like… holy shit.