Kings of Convenience

Cover art from KoC album Riot on an Empty StreetCourtesy of Astralwekrs

No, it’s not Paul Simon — it’s Erlend Oye. And it’s not Art Garfunkel — it’s Eirik Glambeck Boe. Together, the two make up the Norwegian folk-pop group Kings of Convenience, whose smooth melodies and even smoother lyrics bear a striking resemblance to the aforementioned 60s folk stars. They even named one of their albums Quiet is the New Loud, a phrase undeniably reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel’s famous “The Sounds of Silence.”

But the Kings of Convenience manage to have their own sound, created by distinctly catchy rhythms and lyrics that grab your attention because they so perfectly describe a situation you’ve experienced.

Take, for example, “I’d Rather Dance With You,” which features both of these signature elements. The head-bobbing beat provides the perfect background to a chorus that centers around the line, “I’d rather dance with you than talk to you,” describing what it’s like to meet someone at a party and then deciding to forgo polite small talk in favor of tangoing together.

But most songs aren’t quite so superficial. “Love is No Big Truth” is the perfect cynical reflection on relationships. The title says it all: when it comes to love, there are no guarantees, and that can kind of make the whole thing a big waste of time. The song delves into the dynamics of being in a relationship – the joys, the disappointment, “passion and its brother hate.”

Although it includes both the wail of string instruments and the hollow sound of a trumpet, “Sorry or Please” keeps from feeling too dark because of its sunny opening melody that continues throughout the song. The lyrics describe the painful — and painfully confusing — experience of confronting old memories: “I don’t normally beg for assistance / I rely on my own eyes to see / But right now they make no sense to me / Right now you make no sense to me.”

Sure, the Kings of Convenience’s slowest songs blend together a bit, but there’s something charming in the blandness, something that sets the perfect mood to be reflective, confused or maybe even a little bit bitter.

— By Asst. Entertainment Editor
Ani Vrabel
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