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Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence

Kings of Convenience, Declaration of Dependence

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IT’S been five years since Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe – aka Kings of Convenience – have released an album but the wait – for fans – was worth it.

Declaration of Dependence is a real throwback and a dusky, autumnal offering that combines their laidback vocal style with guitar and violin to pleasing effect.

But that’s probably just the way they like it, as Bøe is equally comfortable talking about the record’s “serious ideas” and laughing about its’ “hi-brow Bossa Nova” moments as his partner Øye is clearly thrilled by making, “the most rhythmical pop record ever that features no percussion or drums”.

It’s also a useful way of describing what to expect. This is a remarkably laidback listen and one that’s nice just to spend some time chilling out with.

The mix of acoustic guitars and violin is well-realised and often quite enchanting, while the vocals assume a Simon & Garfunkel vibe that makes for a really engaging listen.

While no one song stands out in particular, there’s a distinct split between those that incorporate guitar and violin together and those that are content to strip things back to solo guitars, thereby allowing the lyrics to really stand out.

Riot On An Empty Street is one example of the latter, enriched instead by vocal harmonies and twinkling pianos late on, while opening track 24-25 gets things off in similarly stripped down but equally lovely fashion.

The pace is picked up on the richly melodic Mrs Cold, there’s a playful piano loop and some lush acoustic arrangements on Me In You (one for the romantics), while the hi-brow Bossa Nova is evident on Rule My World.

The enriching violin accompaniment, meanwhile, is best exemplifed on a track like Peacetime Resistance.

Declaration of Dependence also marks the beginning of a new era for the duo. The record began to take shape in February 2007 when they met up on the same beach in Mexico that is pictured on the album’s cover.

The pair came together to play a concert in the city the following month, the first time they had appeared together in more than two years. They shared a feeling that there was another record to be made. The result, as most fans are sure to agree, is utterly absorbing and a really welcome comeback.

Download picks: Mrs Cold, Me In You, Peacetime Resistance, Rule My World, Riot On An Empty Street

Track listing:

  1. 24 To 25
  2. Mrs Cold
  3. Me In You
  4. Boat Behind
  5. Rule My World
  6. My Ship Isn’t Pretty
  7. Renegade
  8. Power Of Not Knowing
  9. Peacetime Resistance
  10. Freedom And Its Owner
  11. Riot On An Empty Street
  12. Second To Numb
  13. Scars On Land