M.Sometimes communication breaks down and it is unclear whether it will ever be resumed. Especially with those who were supposedly important to you and vice versa, this is difficult to grasp – but at some point the point of return will probably be exceeded, suddenly it’s a fabulous seven years or more, what never thought possible becomes a bad fairy tale in real life .
The possibility of a new album by the Norwegian songwriter duo from Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, called Kings of Convenience, was already a fairytale-like distance. Even a request from one of the two on site in Bergen, almost at the end of the world, only brought fairy-tale answers, in short: The album has actually been finished for years, but not quite yet.
Now it’s finished – and looks and sounds like a revenant fairy tale, but not a bad one. On the cover of “Peace or Love” the two Norwegians, who apparently have not aged, sit sunk on a chessboard like on their 2004 “Riot on an Empty Street”, which became the standard work of a new musical genre: that of the Norwegian bossa nova .
Step by step, they tie in with his songs, in chord progressions, plucked patterns, two-part singing and minimalist production; it’s as if they just wanted to keep writing some pieces. So “Angel” with its bouncing bass line sounds more than familiar if you heard the earlier song “Know-How” back and forth. And the first single “Rocky Trail”, which begins with the words “One more time”, sounds like a continuation of the story of the lonely canoeist from the then “Cayman Islands”, who has now reached rocky land.
Feist is also there again
You could almost say: The Kings of Covenience only play variations of a single song, as it is said about some poets, they basically only wrote one poem. In pop music of the past two decades, this can be compared to the songwriter Jack Johnson, for whom his rhythmic beat pattern on the guitar has become an unmistakable trademark. When he deviated from it, it was promptly no longer so good, it became confusable.
The Norwegians don’t make the mistake: Even the collaboration with the Canadian singer Feist is seamlessly continued here, as if she too had never been gone: with the ballad “Love Is A Lonely Thing” and the living room dance song “Catholic Country”, written by is underlaid with a very subtle hip-hop groove cleverly mixed into the background.
The basic mood of Norwegian bossa, however, how could it be otherwise, is often at the limit of what a heart can bear: The deeply sad “Comb My Hair”, for example, has roughly the severity and painful tone of Hank Cochran’s sixties song “Make the World Go Away ”. If you are honest, it depicts signs of a depressive mood by asking: Why comb your hair, why even get up when the loved one is not there?
This music overrides everything
Anyone who has heard “Comb My Hair” should no longer see any reason to continue common everyday routines, this music overrides everything. It can be dangerous. If there were warning notices, as they are now more often provided with cultural products or newspaper articles because of depictions of violence or other dangerous content, a sticker “Warning, can trigger extreme melancholy” would be attached here.
This results – in addition to the aesthetic ones that have recently been brought forward – here also a moral reason for maintaining the album concept: Such a song can actually only be justified in a context in which it is suspended between more encouraging complementary pieces. If you don’t allow the music of pain to have a comforting character, at least they are given with “Fever” – or with the bouncy song “Washing Machine”, which comes up with the wisdom of the no longer twenty-year-olds: Simply pull everything inside out and wash it .