Album Review: Declaration Of Dependence by Kings Of Convenience
Fairly Good, Based on 7 Critics
Pitchfork - 79 Based on rating 7.9/10
Kings of Convenience made headlines last month. No, wait, Leslie Feist did. It's been an eventful five years since the Norwegian duo's previous album, Riot on an Empty Street, featured the Canadian songstress on two tracks. After Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambæk Bøe's recent New York show, that a surprise Feist guest appearance got top media billing underscores just how eventful.
In the five years since their last record, the duo of Erlend Øye and Erik Glambek Bøe have each been busy, Øye with DJ gigs and his other band the Whitest Boy Alive, and Bøewith his day job and fighting Clear Channel in their hometown of Bergen, Norway. Getting back into Kings of Convenience mode sounds like it was as easy as putting on a fresh pair of socks. Their third album, Declaration of Dependence, sounds like it could have been recorded at the same session as Riot on an Empty Street; it's just as relaxed, mellow, and dreamy.
Norway duo adds depth, dramatic arc to delicate pop pace Kings of Convenience have always had a tight grip on their delicate acoustic sound. However, Declaration of Dependence offers a sense of cohesion their previous albums don’t, a complete story through melody. The slow awakening of “24-25” warms up the listener before the fluttering “Me in You,” which segues gracefully into the lively sway of “Boat Behind.” “Rule My World” begins the descent toward conclusion, though the melancholic pulse of “Renegade” and offbeat vocals of “Second to Numb” still pique and captivate.
Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe have one of those time-defying relationships that are unaffected by separation. It's been five years since they released an album as Kings of Convenience, yet it could be five minutes, so restfully familiar are the murmured harmonies, autumnal guitar melodies and wisps of violin. The world around them hasn't stood still, however: specifically, it has seen the rise of comedy folk duo Flight of the Conchords.
Kings of Convenience are the Daft Punk of acoustic music. When Daft Punk’s epic Human After All came out after a five year wait the deceptively simplistic techno loops had just about everybody confused – how did it take seven years? At five years since their last LP, Kings of Convenience are just as prolific, and their minimal approach is just as deceptive. How did it take five years to come up with Declaration of Dependence? The question answers itself with each new listen, as tiny details and methodically charted rhythms reveal themselves.
Norway's Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, aka Kings of Convenience, were both born in the fall of 1975, and their third studio release reaches us - after a five-year wait - in late October, so the album's autumnal textures feel just right. It's refined, poised, sweater-and-scarf music to settle down with in advance of winter's messy hysteria. [rssbreak] But it also might induce hibernation, or at least a series of long naps.
It is not difficult to imagine two distinct responses to the third studio album by Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, the Norwegian folk duo who make up the Kings of Convenience. One will be the inevitably enthusiastic welcome the band will receive from devoted fans who have been waiting five years for a follow up to Riot on an Empty Street, the group’s last album (itself appearing after a gap of three years following the international debut Quiet is the New Loud). They will probably be heartened to discover that the Kings are providing business as usual, creating that intimate sonic space that is their calling card and, for their fans, what makes them unique.