courtesy of the artist
Kings of Convenience. courtesy of the artist
Erlend Oye and Eirik Glambek Boe of Kings of Convenience are subversive little scoundrels. The Norwegian duo makes eiderdown-plush folk-pop records, buoyed by harmonies that recall Simon and Garfunkel at their zenith. And, as with the duo's forebears, there's a ferocious lyrical undertow to Kings of Convenience's gentle songs. The band's third studio album, Declaration of Dependence, is a honey-dipped missive of Nordic fury aimed squarely at the eight-year tenure of George W. Bush.
Oye and Boe talked around the political genesis of songs such as "Peacetime Resistance," but while he was reluctant to be perceived as a pugilistic Scandinavian bashing American leaders, Oye seemed pleased when I guessed that "Rule My World" was directed at the former president. Both men were frank about their complex friendship and contrasting personalities — a Kings of Convenience quirk that led to spirited arguments in the recording studio. Oye seems like a playful wanderer, while Boe, who boasts an advanced psychology degree, possesses the reserved temperament of a tired young father.
Sitting in WFUV's Studio-A with Oye and Boe, who rarely tour the U.S., was like being the only parishioner present in a cathedral of hallowed harmonies. As their voices met in perfect confluence, accompanied only by acoustic guitar, I made a quick transition from casual fan to happy acolyte.