The past few years of mellow European albums show the poorly-executed experimental turn that melodic pop has taken. Replacing the simple, guitar-accompanied vocals of bands like Death Cab for Cutie are the synthesized sounds of Phoenix and nameless others who enjoy robotic voices too much. Not only that, but lyrics now seem to take a backseat to artificial, deliberately inconsistent rhythms that appear like an attempt at a cheap, DJ-inspired indie evolution.
Absent after a five-year hiatus, Kings of Convenience, composed of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe from Bergen, Norway, return with their signature style with Declaration Of Dependence
. "Riot On An Empty Street" takes back the intellectual mellowness they started with, and "Quiet Is The New Loud" puts poetry back where it belongs. Becoming widely known for their catchy single, "I'd Rather Dance With You," the Norwegian duo continues to complement quirky melodies with original songwriting prowess. As Øye croons, "You feel vulnerable around me," throughout "Mrs. Cold," the ambient and rhythmic guitars dilute the chills created by his undulating voice, which seems to argue against the natural human condition of erecting emotional barriers. This upbeat charm scatters itself throughout the rest of the album, such as in "Boat Behind," where punchy violin interjections introduce the song's intended cheekiness.