An indie pop duo from Bergen, Norway, Kings of Convenience’s gentle, harmony-rich songs recall the bittersweet comfort of forerunners like Simon & Garfunkel and Belle and Sebastian. After debuting in 2000 with the acoustic Kings of Convenience album, they topped the Norwegian album chart with the next year’s Quiet Is the New Loud. The pair experimented with more-expansive arrangements over time while retaining a hushed demeanor on albums like 2004′s Riot on an Empty Street, a Norwegian number two hit that cracked the Billboard Independent Albums chart in the U.S. After making their Billboard 200 debut with 2009′s Declaration of Dependence, they took an extended publishing hiatus before returning in 2021 with Peace or Love.
Kings of Convenience teams singer/guitarists Erik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye. After first earning notice through a series of acclaimed European festival appearances in mid-1999, the one-time schoolmates signed to American label Kindercore to issue their eponymous debut the following year. Quiet Is the New Loud followed in early 2001 on Astralwerks and went all the way to the top of Norway’s album chart. It featured many of the same songs from the Kindercore release, but they were re-recorded, reordered, and a few were swapped out for newer songs. The remix album Versus followed later in the year featuring artists as diverse as Ladytron, David Whitaker, and Four Tet.
After a three-year layoff during which Øye recorded a solo album (2003′s Unrest) and gained some renown as an electronica DJ while Bøe worked on finishing up his psychology degree, the pair teamed up again for 2004′s Riot on an Empty Street. It climbed to number two in Norway and landed on the Billboard Independent Albums chart at number 41. Another pause in activity, during which Øye released the debut album of his alternative dance project, The Whitest Boy Alive, was broken by a series of concerts in 2007 and 2008. Kings of Convenience then delivered the full-length Declaration of Dependence in October 2009. It resulted in another Top Ten appearance in Norway and marked their Billboard 200 debut with a week at number 112.
The duo’s lengthiest release hiatus yet followed during the entirety of the next decade, though they made an attempt at recording an album in 2016 and emerged for occasional live appearances. Kings of Convenience eventually returned in June 2021 with Peace or Love. Issued on EMI, it included a pair of duets with Feist. ~ Marcy Donelson & Jason Ankeny