Kings of Convenience came out of the heralded and forgotten “New Acoustic Movement” of the early 00’s. From the start, I followed each and every move by the duo. I thought of them as Norway’s own Simon & Garfunkel. Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe were special talents, it was clear to me. I missed out on the opportunity to see them live while living near Seattle in 2002. I figured I’d see them next time. 19 years later, it hasn’t happened yet. Fortunately, there’s been strong album after strong album released in the years since their Kindercore self-titled debut in 2000 debut. Quality over quantity though – there’s been long gaps between albums after the 1st rapid fire releases of the self-titled album, Quiet Is The New Loud, and Versus remix album. In fact, 2021 marks 12 years since 2009’s Declaration of Dependence. Fortunately, the boys have returned with the timely album entitled Peace Or Love. The question was on my mind – would Kings of Convenience continue their winning streak? After a few spins the answer was clear – there is magic in the air.
Rumours continues the tradition of opening a Kings of Convenience album with a perfect song. Erlend and Eirik’s voices blend and compliment each other over a longing acoustic backdrop. Lyrically the song is imbued with the wisdom of lives lived. “Don’t let them tell you / Don’t let them tell you who you are” they sing sweetly, closing the track in stellar fashion. Rocky Trail is the single from the album and calls to mind that classic Kings of Convenience vibe. Chill and thoughtful, it’ll have you singing with the boys in no time at all. The video is embedded below this review. Love Is A Lonely Thing hits right away – a beautiful collaboration with Feist. It features a spare arrangement and haunting vocals. Lyrically, it borders on bleak and hopeful, something the duo have always excelled at. “Love is pain and suffering, love can be a lonely thing / Once you’ve known that magic, who can live without it?”. Fever brings a slight disco vibe but is fully acoustic. It is the liveliest track on the album and might’ve been a radio hit in an alternate universe. I read that they labored quite a bit over the lyrics “Fever, you got fever / Driving around on your scooter / In Christmas time, with funky clothes / That don’t take care of you”. They needn’t have worried so – it is a delightful song. Ask For Help feels like a sequel to their song Failure from over 20 years ago. Everything is pared down to the absolute basics. Simplicity IS best – this is my favorite song on the record. Just guitars & vox singing “If you got a team behind you / But you lack a leader inside of you / Ask for help”. I think that is a wonderful message in this day and age. Washing Machine closes the record with an upbeat sing-along that has a ton of spirit. Those voices blended – simply perfection. A fitting conclusion to the album.
I’ve lived with this album for a few months now and fully believe it gets better with each listen. It is not quite as immediate as their earlier releases but is of the same quality. An older, wiser Kings of Convenience. Let’s hope they don’t wait another decade to grace us with a new album.
For Fans of: Simon & Garfunkel, Turin Brakes, I Am Kloot, Feist, The New Pornographers
- Rocky Trail
- Comb My Hair
- Love Is A Lonely Thing (featuring Feist)
- Ask For Help
- Catholic Country (featuring Feist)
- Song About It
- Washing Machine