It seems strange that Röyksopp have decided to give up on the album concept just as the Norwegian duo have released more music via the format over the last few years than they have at any other time during their career. The Inevitable End isn’t the end of the duo but the end of the duo working towards to an album every so often, and it might be the best thing for them in a way; over the last fews years the duo have been giving away free tracks via their Soundcloud and some of them were better than what you’d find on their last two albums, Junior and Senior. So how does their farewell album compare to their bulging back catalogue?
Quite well if you take the album’s first track as an example, ‘Skulls‘ is probably the standout track from the album from an electronic perspective, it still has that trademark otherworldly Rokysopp feel – but it’s backed by thudding kicks, twisted synths, and vocoded vocals. Another example of Röyksopp at their best is their electro-clash collaboration with Robyn, and while it has already featured on their collaborative album from a few months ago it has been jazzed up a bit for its second outing sporting a new lick electro paint, and it’s all the better for it.
For those of your who like Röyksopp introspective and playful let me point you in the direction of ‘Sordid Affair‘, which ticks all the boxes for a memorable Röyksopp chillout track. It’s certainly one of the album’s highlights and after a couple of listens you’ll soon be seduced by the dulcet tones of Ryan James who lends his voice to proceedings. The Inevitable End features quite a few collaborations, almost too many to name, but on the whole they add a different dimension to Röyksopp’s wintery palette.
Jamie McDermott from the The Irrepressibles actually features the most, cropping up in four tracks no less, to varying degrees of success. First of all, you’ll find him crooning on ‘I Had This Thing‘; a swirling slice of electronica. Then you’ve got, ‘You Know I Have To Go‘; an electronic lullaby that actually would have made a great finish to the album, given its length, but whatever. You’ve also ‘Here She Comes Again‘ which is a kicking electro track that goes hard on the feels thanks in part thanks to his vocals. And finally, his last contribution is ‘Compulsion‘ and it’s probably the most downbeat track of the three but it’s actually a better fit for his vocal range, and ends up being the best of the bunch. The Inevitable End is easily the duo’s most electronic-based album and it’s all the more better for it, tracks like ‘Save Me‘ and ‘Rong‘, which feature Susanne Sundfør and Robyn respectively, sit really well with the album’s electronic openers as well as staples like ‘Running To The Sea‘.
Right, I’m just going to say it now: THIS IS THE BEST ALBUM ROYKSOPP HAVE DONE SINCE MELODY AM. There, I said it. Mind you, if you’ve listen to Melody AM a lot, and why wouldn’t you, I can easily see this album as being pretty good replacement; sure it’s not as innocent or playful, but that’s not a bad thing, there’s more depth, more intensity, more emotion, and more interesting collaborations on offer. It might seem strange for Röyksopp to give up on the album concept when they’ve just made one this good – but if it does turn out to be their last it’s quite a way to go out.
HBF Rating 4/5
You can listen to the album in full ahead of its November 10 release here.