Kings of Convenience stay true to form on Declaration of Dependence

declaration of dependence

I’ll admit it – the Kings of Convenience make me jealous. Everything seems to come so easy to them. Intricate guitar arrangements and dissonant harmonies are like simple math. But it’s not like I get frustrated listening to their music. In fact, it’s rather the opposite; stressful situations call for Kings of Convenience. Warm, delicate and elegant, the music never fails to put me at ease. If you were expecting any of that to change on Declaration of Dependence, you’d fortunately have been mistaken. No crazy shock-inducing crescendos, no over-the-top vocal challenge, no percussion  – the Kings of Convenience stick to what they know, and what they know is the ability to craft lounge pop songs to perfection.

The duo of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe touch on our greatest vulnerabilities with Declaration of Dependence. Sadness be damned, we’re all in for a mesmerizing experience. Most every song is of a similar variety: short and quick, with interspersed string work and the omnipresent acoustic picking. This sense of calm, cool and collected must be a Norwegian thing – remember my Siren review of the Raveonettes’ live performance? Well, Kings of Convenience build on the unflappable tunes with even less glitz and glam, if that’s possible. They just plod along with their cozy lullabies and stunningly pacifying voices.

Declaration of Dependence, even more so, in fact, than previous KoC work, is a work of truly tranquilizing, jazzy pleasure. Øye’s voice stops at a certain decibel – almost like a machine that knows when it’s getting too loud – and works so easily from a low chest voice into a crisp head voice, all the while competing with Bøe’s enchanting falsetto. The harmonies are expertly smooth on “Mrs Cold”, the second track, which is the promo song for Declaration, and definitely one of the best indicators for the feel of the entire album. One track, “Peacetime Resistance”, slightly stands out from the others, however, because of the predominant use of strings, which I much appreciate; it adds a little flair to an otherwise uniform (albeit awesome) album. And so it goes. On Declaration of Dependence, the Kings of Convenience remain worthy of their stately title.

Kings of Convenience – “Mrs Cold” [MP3]

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