"...one of the sweetest and easiest records of the year"
Kings of Convenience

Conventional music industry wisdom says that you shouldn’t make your third album sound just like your first two. You need some new tricks to keep things interesting without losing what made your fans fall in love with you in the first place. But with 'Declaration of Dependence', Kings of Convenience have stuck two fingers up at such tiresome thinking.

It’s not that surprising that the band hasn’t changed its signature sound when you think about it. Erlend Øye, who forms one half of the singing-songwriting duo, has plenty of other musical outlets (as a solo artist, as a DJ and as part of electro-pop outfit The Whitest Boy Alive). So it makes sense that he and partner Eirik Bøe would want to return to their indie-folk roots, especially as they’ve only released two other records in their 11 years together.

The record isn’t a declaration of dependence on their Simon and Garfunkel-inspired sound, however. It’s Øye and Bøe’s ode to one another, to their strength as a partnership and to the niche they’ve carved out for themselves. There aren’t many other Norwegian acoustic groups who’ve got the credibility to perform with Feist and the mass appeal to end up on the soundtrack for The OC. (Their last record saw them doing both back in 2004 – boy, does that seem like an age ago).

The gentle guitars and dreamy harmonies might not have changed much, but the songs are stronger than ever. 'Declaration of Dependence' is full of hummable tunes and lyrics blessed with those quirky but charming turns of phrase that you only get from singers whose first language is English and that Scandinavians do so well. “You’re the wind-surfer crossing the ocean, I’m the boat behind,” they sing, showing off their talent for unusual metaphors with strange poignancy.

Actually, Kings of Convenience have rolled out at least one new trick. There’s no percussion on this album and it’s credit to the band’s skill and subtlety that it takes you a while to even notice. 'Declaration of Dependence' is one of the sweetest and easiest records of the year – and it’s pretty funky for an album without drums. Just don’t expect any surprises and you won’t be disappointed.


Words by Steve Harris

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