Kings of Convenience - Quiet Is The New Loud

Under an album title that practically became a mantra for the European music press, Kings of Convenience display everything that is right and everything that is wrong with the new acoustic movement. The duo employs their guitars to create touching ballads at will, but they forget to vary their pace at times. Quiet Is the New Loud is immeasurably gentle. Comparing the band to Belle and Sebastian and Nick Drake, as so many music critics are prone to do, isn't quite right. It's nearly impossible to find a hint of irony in the music of Kings of Convenience, whereas Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch seems to have his tongue firmly planted in cheek. Drake sought the mystical and natural elements of his short life to create his art. Kings of Convenience seem to merely seek calm moods and discuss relationships. Acoustic guitars are constantly rolling and a minimal piano plucks out delicate notes. The most interesting songs tend to be those where the band picks up their pace. "I Don't Know What I Can Save You From" is quite beautiful, as Erik Glambek Boe's vocals take on a charged immediacy. The song is reminiscent of the more pop-oriented sound Ben and Jason achieved on their excellent Emoticons album. "Parallel Lines" sounds more than a little like a slowed-down, sadder take on Morrissey's "Seasick, Yet Still Docked." If Quiet Is the New Loud had a quicker pulse, at least on a few more tracks, it would have been more successful. Instead, the album makes for an enticing, somewhat over-dour rainy day mood-piece.


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