Kings of Convenience's Peace or Love: What You Need To Know
When Norwegian folk duo Kings of Convenience first emerged on the scene with their 2001 debut album Quiet Is the New Loud, the album’s title seemed to be not only a clever descriptor of its sound but also of the duo’s entire ethos – one that would almost become a motto for the wave of similarly-minded indie-folk types that followed in their wake, from José González to Turin Brakes.
Two more albums followed – 2004’s Riot on an Empty Street and 2009’s Declaration of Dependence – but in the 12 years that have elapsed since the latter, Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe have been on a long hiatus as a duo, working on other projects such as Øye’s band The Whitest Boy Alive and Bøe’s side project Kommode.
That changes this week though as Kings of Convenience reunite to deliver their first new album in over a decade. Recorded over the last five years in different cities, the duo’s fourth studio album Peace or Love is set to arrive in stores on Friday June 18. Here’s everything you need to know…
A little background…
After 10 years away their fans could have been forgiven for thinking they were never coming back, but in fact a new LP has been on the cards for some time, it’s just ended up taking a long time for the duo to get it right. A post on their Facebook page from 2019 addressed the long wait after a long period of silence:
“A lot of people are wondering about the new Kings of Convenience album. What has happened is this: the songs were written and even performed live but when we tried to record it during 2016/2017 for a mixture of reasons the results just weren’t good enough. And by that time I (Erlend) didn’t have anymore energy to pour into it. I needed distance to be able to be objective about it again. So 2018 was a charging battery year, and now we are planning to try again. But you won’t hear anything more about it (or from us) until it’s actually done. No false promises. Dreams burn but in ashes are gold.”
Then in May this year an announcement was finally made on the new album’s title and release, with the duo also unveiling the first cut from their fourth LP, ‘Rocky Trail,’ and a string of tour dates.
Who’s producing it?
Numerous producers have been involved along the way, at least one of which is Kalle Gustofsson, who recorded their recent single ‘Rocky Trail’ and who previously served as the bassist with Swedish rock outfit The Soundtrack of Our Lives.
Any special guests?
Feist is the only guest vocalist on the album, appearing on both ‘Lonely Country’ and ‘Love is a Lonely Thing’, but there are various other musicians involved across the album, including Norwegian songwriter and multi instrumentalist Alexander von Mehren.
What does it sound like?
In many ways, it sounds as though they’ve never been gone. Lead-off single ‘Rocky Trail’ is slice of Latin-infused folk pop that seems so effortless it’s honestly hard to imagine why the album has been so long in the making.
Songs like this and the slightly more sedate ‘Fever’ are typical of the laid-back, dreamy vibe that permeates the new album - that was to be expected, of course – but on Peace or Love the duo’s intertwining guitars and gentle harmonies take on a sheen and a slickness that didn’t feel as present on the previous albums, and although some of the nods to cheesy 70s pop can feel a little saccharine in places, every track feels like it has been carefully engineered to be as evocative as possible.
Does it deliver?
After 12 years in which a variety of factors have delayed or postpone its arrival, it feel like a minor miracle at the album is here at all. But it never feels like a struggle – quite the opposite, in fact. Even though it has its moments of melancholy – and there are a few, such as ‘Comb Your Hair’ – the album’s 11 tracks feel like soothing balm for troubled times, and one their fans will surely appreciate.