Kings of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence

January 01, 1970

(Astralwerks) www.astralwerks.com

 

BY STEVE KLINGE

 

Quiet is still the new loud in the
world of Kings of Convenience, the Norwegian duo of Erlend Oye and Erik Glambek
Boe. On their third album (not including a remix collection) and their first in
five years, the Kings are quieter still. Erlend Oye seems to have decided that
he will confine his electronic leanings, which surfaced occasionally on
previous Kings releases, to his Whitest Boy Alive albums and DJ projects (see
his excellent entry in the DJ Kicks series). Or maybe Boe steers the ship this
time. Whatever the case, Declaration of Dependence rarely moves beyond
two tender, conversational voices and two finger-picked acoustic guitars
playing a kind of Norwegian bossa nova. Nor does it need to. You could slip
this album in a rotation between CDs from Simon & Garfunkel and Joao
Gilberto and the general vibe wouldn’t change.

 

These are multi-faceted,
deceptively multi-dimensional songs: they sound soft, but their center often
contains bitterness and political frustration. “I see you building a castle
with one hand while tearing down another with the other,” Oye and Boe harmonize
in “Me In You.” “You shoot before you know who’s in your line of fire,” they
sing, sweetly, in “Rule My World.” It’s unclear whether the songs address a
political leader (a certain former US president comes to mind) or an
egotistic (former) lover, and the songs are all the better for that ambiguity.
“Go easy on me, I can’t help what I’m doing,” Boe talk-sings in “Renegade.” His
voice is so understated and murmuring that one would have to be a bully to go
hard on him. Declaration of Dependence throws more punches than it
pulls, although they’re delivered with the softest velvet gloves.

 

Standout Tracks: “24-25,” “Mrs. Cold,” “Power of Not Knowing” 

 

 

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