[6] Röyksopp featuring Robyn, ‘The Girl And The Robot’

Röyksopp get away with being coffee table dance bores because they’re Norwegian. Stick them in the Home Counties, and they’ll be held in the same esteem as Groove Armada, Morcheeba, Apollo christing 440. “Didn’t you make a good record once?” an aging hipster will say. “Yeah, that one on the advert,” will be their chipper reply. “Oh, and the one that Robyn rescued.”

And she does rescue it. This would be a hi-NRG SAW-era Kylie record (OK at the time, but in 2009?) if it wasn’t for the “killingest pop star on the planet” and her ability to make the mundane sound heartbreaking. She could make the Liverpool FC year-end financial figures sound dramatic and devastating. But instead, it’s the story of a poor girl ignored by her cold, workaholic boyfriend. He’s like a robot. He may even be a robot. After all, as well as sounding like 1989 this sounds like The Future. It’s a wormhole.

It’s also the key to unlock Junior’s dynamic array of disco moves, which now appear to include The Robot. Fortunately, she doesn’t look like Peter Crouch. My brother looks like Peter Crouch.

Never know when you’ll return:

[15] Groove Armada, ‘Song 4 Mutya’

Groove Armada, ‘Song 4 Mutya’

Even the irredeemably naff can be saved by the right muse – and po-faced bundle of pop aggression Mutya Buena must be the right muse for anyone. Up until this point, Groove Armada had only shown a facility for grindingly predictable beats, rubbish gimmicks, chill-out mogadon and anaemic tunes, but Mutya awoke some deep-buried wit and invention, and a great dance-pop hit was born.
Splashy, fizzing synths (think DeBarge, think Chaka Khan, think Scritti Politti’s ‘Wood Beez’ and all that) give the music its zip and Mutya’s Catherine-Tate-a-like Jafaican drawl (“Ah feel fine. What about you? I betcha been crayin’, I betcha been goin’ around town layin’”, if you catch my drift) gives it attitood, while the Armada boys themselves (I picture them as a dull Adam and Joe) provide a glorious, catchy chorus to cement the song’s place in the year’s Top 20. Just a touch more bass would’ve put it even higher.
“Is that who has replaced me? What a diss!” had the conspiracy theorists rubbing their hands at a perceived smack at Amelle Berrabah, the beleaguered new Sugababe, but it was just a scorned ex-girlfriend type of thing. Probably. Anyway, the biggest “diss” came from Junior, who turned the CD player off after a few bars. At the second attempt she offered some headbanging to the chunky beats, but the moment had passed.

[3] Lemon Jelly, ‘The Yellow EP’

Lemon Jelly

We’re not supposed to know much about Lemon Jelly, no photos are meant to exist, just the occasional cartoon image. But seriously, who cares? Their brand of largely instrumental studio boffinry doesn’t need a face, and certainly not the face of some sallow overgrown computer whizzkid. As a band, they walk the tightrope of euphoric pop beauty between the chasms of dinner party techno-jazz and downright zanery. They often fall, but sometimes they stay put. On ‘The Yellow EP’ they kept their balance.

‘His Majesty King Raam’ is a pretty piece of fairytale, and ‘Homage To Patagonia’ is a bossa nova work-out that veers dangerously close to Groove Armada territory, but it’s ‘The Staunton Lick’ that makes the EP. The soundtrack to any advert that promises a brighter tomorrow, it builds slowly adding layer upon layer until your spine can tingle no more.

There’s a new playpen in our living room. Junior had expressed an interest in re-enacting channel Five’s Prison Break, having tattooed the blueprints on her torso with Hipp Organic spaghetti bolognese, so we’ve built the set. She eyed it suspiciously for most of the EP, before allowing a bit of nappy shaking, and then making a dive for the pretty lights on the mixer.

No bars will ever hold her back.

The Staunton Lick: