This week sees the highly successful partnership of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, better know as acoustic guitar duo Kings of Convenience, beginning their first extensive US/Canadian tour since the release of their sophomore album ‘Riot on an Empty Street’.
Quiet is the new loud
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). To date the duo has sold more than 400 000 units of their two albums.
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 "singing DJ" and supporting his 2003 solo album "Unrest" as well as his 2004 !K7 DJ Kicks release.
Meeting the fans
February will see the two guitar-strumming, vocal-harmony masters playing a string of intimate gigs in Orlando, Atlanta, Athens, New York, Arlington, Philadelphia, Boston, Northampton, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Columbus, Chicago and Minneapolis.
Says Glambek Bøe to Norwegian daily Aftenposten: “In the US we kind of start from scratch, but I like to be in attack mode and work our way upwards. In Rome we were met with 5000 people with concert tickets in their hands, waiting in line for us. We’re not completely unknown in the US, but we’re neither among the big stars of the year.” Glambek Bøe points out that he looks forward to meeting KoC’s North American fans: “I want to thank our fans for buying our record – I want to celebrate that everything has gone so well. The best thing about being a performing artist is to meet people that appreciate what you do. We have received lots of e-mails from our US audience, asking us to come over to play. Hopefully, we’ll meet some of them during the tour.”
Upon its June 2004 release in Europe, ‘Riot on an Empty Street’ was met with rave reviews. Below are a few excerpts from the many positive ones.
The Guardian's Betty Clarke gave the sophomore KoC outing 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 Bøe and Erlend Øye tiptoed away to Ibiza. Having given clubbers the most graceful of comedowns, Bøe returned to university in Norway, while Øye 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 also welcomed the new KoC album, awarding it four out of five stars and declaring it Album of the Week upon its release.
A quote from The Times' Lisa Verrico: "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 Bøe 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."