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Röyksopp

The Understanding (Astralwerks)

When they released their debut Melody A.M.three years ago, Norwegian duo Röyksopp held boundless promise as auteurs of the new millennium's dance pop thanks to a knack for distant yet quirky house hooks; think a Nordic, mellowed-out Basement Jaxx. And the haunting purr of guest singer Erlend ÿye certainly didn't hurt either. But that promise evaporates with The Understanding. Their onetime balance of sterility and warmth tips a bit too far to the former, and while lead single "Only This Moment" and deep cut "Alpha Male" recapture the highs of their debut's wistful electronica, most of the album registers as gentrified, personality-deficient upscale-shopper house. Not fulfilling to dance to, but I bet it'll sell plenty of BMW X5s.

 
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