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Robyn - Honey (Album Review)

Monday, 29 October 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

There is a method of mastering in dance music production - pioneered by Daft Punk - that involves increasing sidebar compression on the kick drum. The result is that the whole track throbs around the kick, and seems more aggressive, powerful and tight. It’s particularly effective for radio play, where things are engineered into a state of razor-like sharpness to be heard over rush hour traffic.

Robyn’s long-awaited comeback album, ‘Honey’, is full of it: on the title track, the superb throwback Between the Lines and the marvellously kitsch Beach2k20. Combined with her immaculate vibrato-free voice and the nebulous synths, the result is a record that shimmers, both in its pulsing club-ready tidiness and some AAA songwriting. It is a peek into pop Valhalla. It is a land of golden citadels and crisp, cold air.

It’s also a strikingly terse collection. At nine songs, Robyn has eschewed the current pop trend for the excessive stockpiling of tracks (a money-generating trick when working with streaming services) and doubled down on tight, distinctive arrangements.

This is her first full record in eight years, and as such it may have been perfectly acceptable for the artist to have delivered a sprawling smorgasboard of indulgence, as long as the quality was there. Instead we are served up a taut, channelled record...and the quality is there, too.

‘Honey’ also does something that not enough albums do - it ends on a potential hit. Often, we finish with a sprawling, longer cut that feels epic or wouldn’t fit anywhere else on the record. Instead, Ever Again is a track that could easily be released as a primary single, with a Prince-like call and response groove and those unmistakable pointed, layered vocals. Like the piece as a whole, it’s bold and excellent.



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