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Dance To The Music

SveinRoyksopp's 2002 Astralwerks debut, "Melody A.M.," rightfully made the Norwegian duo stars in the world of dance and electronic music, spawning such hits as "Poor Leno" and "Eple." The pair's knack for excelling amid a range of styles and approaches is even more apparent on "The Understanding," which resists the temptation to overtly court the masses.

There is a stronger focus on vocals here: Newcomer Chelonis R. Jones shines on the jubilant "49 Percent," while Royksopp's Torbjorn Brundtland and Svein Berge acquit themselves nicely at the mic on the get-up-and-dance "Circuit Breaker" and the seductive synth ballad "Beautiful Day Without You."

"For those who want the atmospheric pieces that were on our last one, they'll probably have to wait for the third album," Brundtland says. "We are going extremely into the sort of melodic, epic side of things, but the beats aren't as soft as they used to be."

The group will launch a North American tour in the fall, and Brundtland and Berge admit they're still mulling how to reproduce the new, vocal-driven songs in a live setting. One option is for the pair to sing the parts themselves with the help of a Vocoder, which has previously been employed to replicate the studio vocals of Kings Of Convenience's Erlend Oye "Poor Leno."

"That has been an important instrument for us live, so far," Brundtland says. Adds Berge, "After all, it's electronic music, so we feel we're at liberty to f*** around."