Röyksopp – The Inevitable End
Whether you know their name or not, there is a high probability that your ears have been exposed to an abundance of Röyksopp’s creations, from video games and commercials to television shows, and even as the default introduction music on some PCs. This is a measure of their electronic influence over the last 13 years, and all this is reaching an inevitable end. Despite their commercial success, their sound has just enough playfulness and experimentation to warrant continued credibility in sophisticated dance circles, but since their lush and innovative debut Melody AM, that fine line has grown narrower to a point where their protégés are eclipsing their distinctiveness. Maybe now they feel unnecessary or irrelevant, searching for a purpose? The final album, The Inevitable End, brings nothing new to their gallery, and is something of an anticlimax to the hype that the album title provokes. However, it’s still quintessentially Röyskopp and is an appropriate final chapter.
Like previous LPs, it has a dual personality: while half of the songs can motivate vigorous jogging and exercise sessions with thumping basses and fast-paced, structured synth-pop (I Had This Thing, Monument, Running to the Sea), they are also fond of down-tempo chill-out (Compulsion, Coup De Grace and Thank You). This schizophrenic effect makes it hard to recommend the album to any listener biased towards one tempo or the other. A third audience might admire Röyksopp’s special ingredient within their electronica – the surprising inclusion of symphonic elements and ambient noises, heard this time on Rong and Here She Comes Again.
They have drawn comparisons with influential counterparts Daft Punk during their career, for their futuristic use of synthesisers and robotic voices, but Röyksopp’s greater importance is their role in launching international potential for organic singers, particularly Scandinavian. Anneli Drecker, Erlend Øye , Lykke Li, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Robyn have all benefited from collaborations with the Norwegian duo. This time they have unearthed another Nordic piano singer-songwriter in Susanne Sundfør on Save Me, and an additional promising vocalist in Jamie McDermott from the art-pop band The Irrepressibles. His voice is heard on three tracks that utilise his soothing, self-reflecting and patient vocals, blending them seamlessly with the electronic sphere he inhabits.
Perhaps the nurturing of this new talent over the course of their portfolio was Röyksopp’s strongest purpose, and for that we must thank them.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
The Inevitable End was released on 7th November 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Monument here: