The conceit for Brooklyn art-duo Prince Rama’s sixth album goes like this: Life as we know it finally ends in the long-promised apocalypse. But lucky for us, Prince Rama has provided a glimpse into the future: Top Ten Hits of the End of the World, which is billed as a compilation of the 10 most popular songs on the day everything came screeching to a halt, are written and performed not by band members Taraka and Nimai Larson – but by the various musical alter egos they’ve channeled.
What the complex mission statement ultimately translates to is a headlong dive into the sisters’ hedonistic brand of dance music. There are subtle tonal variations (this is, after all, the work of 10 different “bands”), but spacey synth-and-guitar jams, accented with frenetic tribal drums, provide the album’s through-line. Rama hit hard with opening salvo “Blade of Austerity,” which fuses a punk chant to a sinuous, Middle East-inspired melody. “No Way Back, ” continues the kinetic pace where – as Nu Fighters – the band employees a wall of squealing guitars, pitched-down vocals, and guttural groans. But Top Ten Hits isn’t all sonic assaults. Slowed to a sexed-up crawl on “Welcome to the Now Age,” Prince Rama (or rather their robot persona Hyparxia), coo a series of sweet nothings against an 8-bit backing track. “Exercise Ecstasy” takes cues from 1980s Jazzercise backing tracks, complete with mid-song Kenny G-style sax solo. A sprawling beast that never once wants for enthusiasm, Top Ten Hits of the End of the World makes the demise of mankind sound not just palatable, but downright danceable.