Album: Robyn, Body Talk Pt 1 (Konichiwa / Island)

A comeback in three parts: no one tells Robyn what to do
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The Independent Culture

After executing pop's least- likely comeback of the past decade, Robyn Carlsson finds herself in a unique position: her fifth album is the proverbial "difficult" one.

A half-remembered Europop puppet in her teens, she faded from consciousness until returning in 2005 with the single "Konichiwa, Bitches" and a spectacular, zeitgeist-grabbing self-titled album. But how to follow it? It's taken her long enough to figure that one out, but she's answered the question threefold. It's typical: you wait over five years for a Robyn album, then three come along at once.

Body Talk Pt 1 is the first instalment in a trilogy of mini-albums, consisting of eight tracks mainly recorded with Robyn's long-term collaborator Klas Ahlund. It kicks off in some (cobra) style. "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do" is back-to-roots electroclash, its neon-lit minimalist beats an absolute gift to DJs, and its Peaches/Kittin- style vocal a delicious rebuke to the New Puritanism as Carlsson repeats the phrase "my drinking is killing me" before rattling off a list of vices (from her smoking to her heels).

Leaked trailer track "Fembot" shimmers with the cleanliness of early OMD, and the Billy Idol-paraphrasing single "Dancing on My Own" has a 1980s gloss and unrelenting shudder that recalls Laura Branigan or Spagna (a compliment), while "Cry When You Get Older" lends hard-earned wisdom to a melody that's every bit as radio-friendly as "Handle Me".

Over such a short tracklist there's precious little room for anything to go wrong, but it nearly does with "Dancehall Queen", a piece of plastic reggae reminiscent of her Swedish compatriots Ace of Base, although a similarly reggae-inflected Röyksopp collaboration is a little more convincing.

It starts to wind down with "Hang with Me", a piano-based acoustic ballad that offers a shoulder to lean on, with a caveat: "Just don't fall recklessly, heedlessly in love with me/Cos it's gonna be all heartbreak..."

The mini-album ends with a Swedish folk song called "Jag Vet en Dejlig Rosa" and it's quite lovely. If Carlsson can keep this quality going on parts two and three, she won't be saying "Sayonara, Bitches" any time soon.

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