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20 Watts Reviews The Kings of Convenience’s Conditions by Jeanette Wall
The Kings of Convenience release a new album, five years after their previous record.

The Kings of Convenience release a new album, five years after their previous record.

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD The Kings of Convenience’s “Mrs. Cold” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 15/20 Watts

After five years of traveling and working on side projects, the present day Simon & Garfunkel have released their third album. Kings of Convenience’s Declaration of Dependence is filled with acoustic melodies that are characteristically easy and quiet, largely what one would expect from the Norwegian musical group.

Finger-picking and soft violin accompaniments are staples of the album. Supplying the whole of the beat on Declaration, the band proclaims it to be the “most rhythmical pop record ever that features no percussion or drums.” Perhaps this is true. Regardless, the sound of the album as a whole is pleasant, if nothing else.

There is also a very apparent nautical feel to the release. As illustrated by tracks like “My Ship Isn’t Pretty,” it seems like these guys have definitely spent some time at the beach. Even the album cover depicts the band sitting on the beach, playing guitar and watching the waves.

The only obvious criticism one could give to the album is the fact that the songs are all extremely similar to one another. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between each track.

There is no doubt that they’ve clearly been broadening their musical horizons since Riot on an Empty Street, released in 2004 with help from indie queen Feist. Heavy bossa nova tones resonate, especially with tracks on the first half of the record, such as “Mrs. Cold” and “Boat Behind.” Outside of this new influence though, the duo hasn’t brought anything new to the table. And after such a long time apart, one would think Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe would have more to show on this album.

Rather than any real “declaration” on the record, the band takes the opposite route. Nothing is particularly profound or groundbreaking. Instead, they’re just presenting the same comforting, familiar sounds.

— Jeanette Wall

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