It’s difficult to experience Röyksopp’s so-called final album, the appropriately titled The Inevitable End, without getting at least somewhat caught up in its bittersweet context. Far from a somber affair, though, the album’s infectious mix of pomp and melancholy renders the Norwegian pair’s swan song more slow-motion victory lap than funereal. The Inevitable End isn’t shy about its moodiness, as evidenced on songs like the mesmerizing, expletive-laden “Rong,” but dovetailing confidently from post-yacht rock to their signature brand of electro-house, Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland are viciously unapologetic about their bipolar approach. “Monument,” the epic opener from Do It Again, their recent EP with Robyn, gets a makeover here, morphing the formerly existential ballad into an unchained dance-floor banger. That adrenaline spike is immediately and effectively countered by the beat-laden ode to soft rock, “Sordid Affair,” with Man Without Country’s Ryan James doing his best Hall & Oates. This occasionally indulgent grab-bag doesn’t always work: The languid “You Know I Have to Go” feels, ironically, interminable, while “Thank You” is a little too on the nose in its valediction to achieve the poignancy the duo obviously intended. The Inevitable End excels when it splits the difference between brooding angst and wistful schmaltz, as on the dark, throbbing “Skulls” and steadily undulating “Compulsion.” Though the album doesn’t skimp on potentially insufferable moments of bottom-lip-biting farewell (the final song is titled “Thank You,” after all), the best tracks boast a fiercely renewed energy that suggests Berge and Brundtland still have much more to offer.
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