The wait is finally over. Kings of Convenience (KOC), the brilliant Norwegian folk-duo comprised of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, have released their first new album in over a decade. When they dropped the single ‘Rocky Trail’ earlier this spring, the listening experience felt religious. It felt like a turn of a new season. I could hear the birds chirping and the light breeze of the cool spring air beckoning them to continue flying around. And the dueling acoustic guitar jam at the end! Absolutely incredible! So much energy and KOC signature sounding magic. It was definitely on repeat for several days after the drop.
From the beginning strums of the opening track ‘Rumours’, fans are welcomed back into the paradise and peaceful island of KOC. The guitar melodies are so bright and colorful that they almost mirror the sound of a trumpet. You can’t just get away with simply calling this project ‘folk music’. There’s Samba in there. Bossa nova. Jazz. Their blend of all of these beautiful, serene sounding and feeling styles almost makes Kings Of Convenience their own genre. They are always keeping listeners on their feet because at any moment the acoustic serene mood can get a blast of folk rock heavier energy.
‘Fever’ brings listeners into the full-band sounding KOC world with a rocking drumbeat and a grooving bass line. The higher pitched melodies when they sing the title of the song almost give the song a sort of 80s vibe mixed with there current indie folk energy. ‘Catholic Country’ continues the jazzy, samba signature sound, and the song also features special guest vocals from the inimitable Feist. Her soothing vocals are the perfect compliment to the airy, breezy atmosphere of KOC.
Peace Or Love stuns fans who have been anxiously awaiting more new music for over ten years. This collection of lullabies and beautiful songwriting will go down as one of the greatest KOC albums of all time. Their formula for song structure and sound may seem repetitive on the first listen. But when you really go back and study the tones, the rhythms, the chord change decisions, it proves Erlend and Eirik to be masters of their craft. One of the main reasons the album took so long was because they weren’t able to capture the correct energy needed in the studio during session takes. This type of relentless motivation and persistence is exactly why KOC have become one of the current top indie folk acts.
Scott J. Herman