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Album Review

Kings of Convenience, 'Declaration of Dependence'

October 19, 2009

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Pop
Kings of Convenience Declaration of Dependence
EMI
ESSENTIAL ’’ “Mrs. Cold’’

Nearly a decade after unofficially announcing its mantra in the form of debut album “Quiet Is the New Loud,’’ the Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience has delivered a third round of its melodic, low-key acoustic-pop. Erlend Oye and Eirik Glambek Boe’s intentionally simple formula - two guys, two guitars, and an ample dose of delicate harmonies - works wonders on such airy ditties as the lightly percussive “Peacetime Resistance’’ and the bossa nova-tinged “Mrs. Cold.’’ Lyrically, the largely lovelorn songwriters take one or two baby-steps forward, particularly with the pointed “Rule My World’’ (on which Boe asks, “How come when they kill it’s a crime, [and] when you kill it’s justice?’’). The band’s determinedly bare-bones instrumentation is undeniably refreshing, with nary a drumset or piece of electronics in sight, but it also lends itself to a mild-mannered monotony that is broken up only intermittently by tunes like the call-and-response of “Boat Behind.’’ The Kings’ hushed, unrushed vibe is the musical equivalent of a softly babbling brook. Then again, when you’re armed with such gently strummed ear candy, who cares about big waves, anyway? (Out tomorrow) ADAM CONNER-SIMONS