Norwegian electro power duo Röyksopp have announced that the end is here – the end of their full-length album career that is, since the duo still plan on making music. Their fifth album, fittingly titled The Inevitable End, is darker and more lyrically based but is still able to capture the power and far reaching corners of their music.
Heavy synthesizers and interstellar patterns kick start the album, with an underlying, enchantingly dark melody for “Skulls”. You can almost picture the dimly lit room, with dust-covered shelves, which hold glowing skulls that alternate in colour with the synthesizers.
Brushing on the concept of posthumous success, frequent collaborator Robyn joins the duo for the hit track “Monument”. Röyksopp and Robyn put out the Do It Again EP earlier this year, which featured a ten-minute version of this song. They cut to the chase with the T.I.E. version, clocking in at less than five minutes.
“Sordid Affair” continues with the dark dramatics, in an almost timid fashion. Whispering vocals and clouded synthesizers extract a feeling of embarrassment and regret, while creating a false sense of relaxation. Flowing smoothly into the next track, “You Know I Had To Go” is sombre and angelic, and seems to float outside of the track listing temporarily.
Skimming farther down the track list, Robyn’s second appearance on the album is the eerie and vocal-based performance “Rong”, as she asks, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” for close to two minutes. The song is not in bad taste however, layering her vocal harmonies together to create an extra dimension that works wonders.
The vocals of Susanne Sundfør open up the dramatic and ravishing track “Running to the Sea”. Her soft, yet unyielding vocals are the perfect pair with the progressive house instrumentations. Growing in intensity with each verse, the end result is an illustrious conclusion that suddenly fades out as a last breath.
As the end gets closer and closer, the tracks seem to become progressively slower in tempo, with the trance-like track “Compulsion”, or the ambient and textured track “Coup de Grace” (it is also one of the only instrumental songs on the album). What it lacks in lyrics is made up for in dramatics and intensity, with a chorus-sounding synth part building into a climactic finish.
The Inevitable End could not have finished on a more appropriate song, with Svein Bergeand and Torbjørn Brundtland choosing “Thank You” to cap it off. Light-hearted and in Röyksopp fashion, distorted and robotic vocals express their gratitude and appreciation for the support of their listeners.
With 12 songs to share and 5 bonus tracks as an added gift, The Inevitable End is worth every second, and you can listen to the entire thing via Exclaim.