21st of June marks the European release of Kings of Convenience’s second album “Riot on an Empty Street”. The duo’s debut outing, “Quiet is the new loud” put the Bergen act firmly on the global map, selling more than 200 000 units world-wide and earning acoustic guitar toting songsmiths some very strong reviews. The duo is even credited for spearheading and inventing a new musical trend – the so-called NAM (New Acoustic Movement).
In the wake of “Quiet is the new loud”, one half of the Bergen duo, Erik Glambek Bøe has pursued his psychology studies in Bergen while the other half, Erlend Øye, has relocated to Berlin, touring frequently as a “signing DJ” and supporting his 2003 solo album “Unrest” as well as his 2004 !K7 DJ Kicks release.
Despite a hectic schedule, Bøe and Øye found time to record “Riot…” in Bergen, spending more than 600 hours in the process. The album sees its European release this week while the US audience gets its dose of melodic guitar strumming, fine-tuned vocal harmonies and sparse-yet aesthetic arrangements on 27 July when the record is released through Astralwerks.
Strong Guardian review
The Guardian’s Betty Clarke gives the new KoC release a warm welcoming:
“It's three years since the Kings of Convenience released their debut album, Quiet Is the New Loud. As references to Simon & Garfunkel and Nick Drake became commonplace, Eirik Glambek Boe and Erlend Oye tiptoed away to Ibiza. Having given clubbers the most graceful of comedowns, Boe returned to university in Norway, while Oye made a solo album and immersed himself in dance culture.
This new album picks up exactly where the Kings left off, with warm melodies and exquisitely detailed ruminations. The harmonies still glow, especially on the evocative Gold in the Air of Summer, and Canadian chanteuse Fiest on the jazzy Know How adds some bluesy soul to the sparse sound. "I'll make you laugh by acting like a guy who sings," they say on the swinging I'd Rather Dance With You, their awkwardness as bittersweet as ever.”
The Times’ Album of the Week
The Times also welcomes the new KoC album, awarding it four out of five stars and declaring it Album of the Week.
The Times’ Lisa Verrico joins in: “Three years ago, the Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience found themselves at the forefront of the so-called New Acoustic Movement. Not plugging their guitars in has proved to be surprisingly lucrative, but repeating the feat may be tricky.
Riot on an Empty Street is an equally pretty album, packed with melodic Simon and Garfunkel-style songs and lyrics about other people’s relationships. The New Acoustic Movement, however, has since died a death, and the band could suffer by association.
On the other hand, there is now the potential to tap in to a less trend- conscious, older audience. The songs here wouldn’t distress Norah Jones fans, while the bossa nova feel to the first single, Misread, should help it to find a place on the Radio 2 playlist. Don’t think that Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Boe have come over all middle of the road; Riot . . . is simply a lighter, less melancholic album than its predecessor, with smarter production and stronger song structures. There are subtle cellos, catchy piano parts, what sounds like a strummed banjo and, mid-album, a trio of comparatively upbeat numbers — well, you can tap your toes to them.
Tucked away at the end there is the wonderfully dreamy The Build Up, with guest vocals from the Canadian singer Feist (a fan of the band sent them a tape), who sounds like a fragile Björk. More of Feist on the album would have been nice, but the Norwegian pair do a fine job all on their own.”
A preview of the album with lyrics and pics is available here
Guardian's Dorian Lynskey recently interviewed the Bergen duo, read the piece here.
The duo is signed to Source Records. sd
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