Allow me to start by saying Kings of Convenience are one of my favorite bands.
I don’t even remember with perfect clarity how I discovered them. But I have it on reasonable authority (my hazy memory) that it was after spotting a copy of their first disc, Quiet Is the New Loud, by chance at a cd store.
The band name, the photograph, and the album title all made for an intoxicating mix of exactly what I’d have taken notice of. I’m quite sure, even years later, that my cheeks must have flushed a bit. In fact, as I am remembering or (or creating a revisionist history, whichever) I believe it was one of those stores that allow you to play used copies of cds before you buy them. This is one of those albums that I’d sample snippets of the first couple of songs and proceed to the checkout counter.
Kings of Convenience are an indie folk-pop duo from Bergen, Norway. Consisting of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, the musical group is known for their delicate tunes, calming voices, and intricate and subtle guitar melodies. Øye and Bøe both compose and sing the songs.
Øye and Bøe were both born in 1975 (Øye on November 21 and Bøe on October 25) and have known each other since they met while participating in a geography contest at the age of 10. At sixteen, they played together in the band Skog (“forest”) with two other friends, releasing one EP, Tom Tids Tale, before breaking up and later forming the Kings duo.
The twosome were signed to the American label Kindercore after appearing in European festivals during the summer of 1999. After a spell living in London in 2001, they released their debut album Quiet Is the New Loud. The album was produced by Coldplay producer Ken Nelson. The album was very successful and even lent its name to a small movement of musicians in the pop underground (including acoustic contemporaries such as Turin Brakes) which took Belle & Sebastian and Simon and Garfunkel as their inspiration and focused on more subtle melodies and messages.
Versus, an album of remixes of tracks from Quiet Is the New Loud, came out shortly after. After this breakthrough year, not much was heard from the band. Øye spent the next few years living in Berlin and doing solo material, releasing music under the DJ Kicks series as well as a solo album titled Unrest. He also has a side project named The Whitest Boy Alive.
It was not until 2004 that the Kings’ follow-up Riot on an Empty Street was released. The video made for “I’d Rather Dance With You,” the second single from the album, topped MTV‘s European list as the best music video of 2004. The album also featured contributions by Leslie Feist.
The third album, called Declaration of Dependence, was released on October 20, 2009.
I’ve been enjoying Declaration of Dependence since a few months after its release (I hadn’t initially known they had released a new album).
Mrs. Cold, from the album:
Boat Behind, from the album: