Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street

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Music Reviews Kings of Convenience
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Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street

Erik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Oye will mellow you out. The duo, principal players in Norway’s pop renaissance, may not possess the high-ceiling potential of young countryman and labelmate Sondre Lerche, but their gentle acoustic pop is consistently lovely and intelligent—even as it occasionally results in the sort of unintended-but-charming comedy that comes from writing in a second language and singing with an accent. Bøe, a moonlighting psychologist, has just the sort of sonorous voice you expect when you shell out for a shrink, and the wispy vocal filigree of Oye, the Kings’ principal guitarist, takes the sound into Simon & Garfunkel territory. While S&G provided the touchstone for 2001’s brilliantly titled Quiet Is the New Loud, it’s merely the starting point for the follow-up. After the transitional opener “Homesick,” the Kings make their bossa nova move on “Misread,” and the languid vibe feels utterly natural. The most striking moments, though, come in the sultry “Know How” and delectable closer “The Build Up,” both featuring Canadian newcomer Feist, whose touchingly intimate guest vocals steal the show, proving Bøe and Oye are true gentlemen and shrewd judges of talent, if not so skilled at their own career development., but their gentle acoustic pop is consistently lovely and intelligent—even as it occasionally results in the sort of unintended-but-charming comedy that comes from writing in a second language and singing with an accent. Bøe, a moonlighting psychologist, has just the sort of sonorous voice you expect when you shell out for a shrink, and the wispy vocal filigree of Oye, the Kings’ principal guitarist, takes the sound into Simon & Garfunkel territory. While S&G provided the touchstone for 2001’s brilliantly titled Quiet Is the New Loud, it’s merely the starting point for the follow-up. After the transitional opener “Homesick,” the Kings make their bossa nova move on “Misread,” and the languid vibe feels utterly natural. The most striking moments, though, come in the sultry “Know How” and delectable closer “The Build Up,” both featuring Canadian newcomer Feist, whose touchingly intimate guest vocals steal the show, proving Bøe and Oye are true gentlemen and shrewd judges of talent, if not so skilled at their own career development.

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