Album Review: Norwegian Duo Royksopp Leave on a High Note With Final Release 'The Inevitable End'
Royksopp's Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland have always been a step ahead of their peers. The Norwegian electronic duo's first record, 2001's Melody A.M., radiated a confidence most debuts lack. On sterling mid-period releases The Understanding and Junior, they fused pop, house and electronic ambiance with a delicacy and deftness that has only just started to make an impact on this decade's chart-topping house-pop. With their fifth record, The Inevitable End, they're getting the jump on everyone one last time: By announcing that this is their final release as Royksopp, they're opening the door to a potentially innovative new phase as solo artists.
They are leaving on a high note: The Inevitable End is sublime melancholy electro-pop, rich and emotionally resonant without feeling maudlin. The album builds on the pair's impressive collaborative EP with Robyn, Do It Again, reinforcing that project's themes of legacy, repetition and dedication, especially on a chugging revamp of its colossal opener, "Monument": The lyrics "This will be my monument/This will be a beacon when I'm gone" are even more poignant now. Vocalists Jamie Irrepressible and Susanne Sundfør humanize tracks like "You Know I Have to Go" and "Running to the Sea" that are streaked with longing and pain. But there's a happy ending, or at least a gracious one: "Thank You" extends its titular message to the act's longtime supporters. It's a fitting gesture from a duo whose music still glows with maturity and cosmopolitan charm.
This article first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of Billboard.