Kings of Convenience
Riot on an Empty Street



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
February 9th, 2005 | 22 replies

Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Kings of Convenience is the mellow indie pop duo of Eirik Glambek Be and Erlend ye. Riot on an Empty Street is their third major label album, and ended a three year layoff during which time Eirik was going to school for a psychology degree, and Erlend was becoming a popular electronica DJ in Germany. Both members were childhood friends in Norway.

What this band is is beautifully crafted vocal harmonies. There is guitar and piano accompaniment, but the album (with a couple exceptions) lacks any percussion. While their first album was a very consistant record, it was easy to write off as one dimensional as the songs all followed the same pacing and style. On Riot, they implement piano, occassional strings, and occasionally an electric guitar.

Kings also recieved some wonderful guest vocals from Broken Social Scene vocalist Leslie Feist on the songs Know-How and The Build-Up. Overall there is a much broader range of sounds on Riot on an Empty Street. From the most upbeat and peppy track "I'd Rather Dance With You" (probably their biggest hit), and driving "Misread", to the gentle ballads "Cayman Islands" and "Gold in the Air of Summer", to the fragile and longingness of "Homesick", there is a song for practically evey mood. This is a nice feel good album that is sure to put you in a good mood.

Eirik Glambek Be - Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Erlend ye - Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Drums, Banjo, Trumpet
Leslie Feist - Vocals
Davide Bertolini - Bass, Upright Bass

Notable Songs:
This song has probably the most gorgeous guitar riff that I have heard. The lyrics are about what really makes a home what it really is. The line "every day there's a boy in the mirror asking me 'what are you doing here'" really sets the tone of the song, and the final line of the song, "Homesick, 'cause I no longer no where home is" is the perfect ending. This is an amazing song, so fragile, so beautiful.

This is a more driving song, the upbeat guitar paces the song nicely, which is needed because of the lack of percussion. There are also some nice piano fills. This is one of the more popular songs from Kings of Convenience in Europe at least, and rightly so as it is a very strong song. My favorite lyric is "How come no one told me, all throughout history, the loneliest people were the ones who always spoke the truth. The ones who made a difference, but were standing indifferent, I guess it's up to me now, should I take that risk or just smile"".

"Cayman Islands"
My favorite song on the record by far. The delicate guitar riff and intimate and wispy vocal harmonies really paint a portrait, and it is a very effective love song, and has the first use of strings on the album. I love the line "If only they could see, if only they had been here, they would understand how someone could have chosen to go the length I've gone to spend just one day riding. Holding onto you, I never thought it would be this clear." I can't say enough about this song, it is just fantastic.

"Know-How" implements a slightly funky guitar riff which is a nice change of pace for the album. The vocals are still very intimate, but the dueling guitars are the star of the song. Halfway through the song, Leslie Feist sings a beautiful duet part of "What is there to know" This is what it is. You and me alone, sheer simplicity." The accompaniment here is just a piano at first before slowly the guitars come back end and the song climaxes nicely.

"Love is No Big Truth"
"All I do is sleep all day and think of you." This is obviously a love song, but it is more than that as they delve into what love really is and what love drives us to do despite it being "driven by our gene, we're simple selfish beings". The song overall has extremely catchy and funky guitar riffs, and even a banjo solo near the end of the song. It is a wonderful start to the second half of the album.

"I'd Rather Dance With You"
This song is atypical of what you find on this album. It is probably the most danceable song. I only mention it because it is arguably the most popular KoC song, and was the first song that I heard from them and it really got me turned on to them. Now looking back it is rather average on the record, but still an impressive song and a nice change of pace. Also I like the video for it. :)

"Gold in the Air of Summer"
This song oddly brings back memories of my childhood. I don't know if it is just the lyrics, or the warm guitars and harmonized vocals, or the beautiful piano fills, or the gentle horn solo, but there is something. This is what I really look for in music, a song that can elicit some sort of emotional reaction from me. This song succeeds in that, and that is what makes it one of my favorites on the album.

Recommended for fans of:
Sondre Lerche (Norwegian connection)
Nick Drake
Belle and Sebastian

This is an album that quite frankly you can't go wrong with. It a a chill masterpiece, and an almost flawless album. It loses a few points for being a bit one-dimensional, but I still recommend it highly.

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user ratings (145)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 22nd 2005


Great review.

I definately now have the urge to buy this.

June 23rd 2005


I still haven't heard a song from them

June 26th 2005


These guys do a lot of work with Royksopp, don't they?

August 2nd 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

I love this album. Homesick and Cayman Islands always make me tear up a little.

November 19th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

I like this.

January 15th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

oh how i adore this album. it's so beautiful from start to finish. has it's groovy bits, and its lonely fragile bits. love it love it love it .

February 5th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

This is a great album! Every track is either a 4.5 or a 5. When I first heard them I didn't pay much attention, but after I really listened to both their first album and this one I wanted to slap myself for writing them off so easily. They are one of the more talented bands to come out in recent times. It's strange, I find myself writing these posts about bands from places like Norway and Iceland, did America loose something? Oh wait......, no, we still have the new Tool album to look forward too. ;) This Message Edited On 02.05.06

February 22nd 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Easily one of my alltime favorite albums. These guys strike the mood and keep it for all twelve songs. Misread, Sorry or Please, beautiful ending with The Build-Up.

May 1st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I love cayman islands..

It's weird, the top two genres that I listen to are of complete contrast.. Metal and easy listening..

CAYMAN ISLANDS!!! Highly recommended for those oh so sentimental moments.. :D

October 7th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Oh how I love this album.

October 24th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Oh how I love this album.

Yes, I did just retype the user above me's statement regarding this album. But it just has to be said..

Great review too!This Message Edited On 10.24.06

April 11th 2007


if you don't like this cd then you're a faggot

seriously though, I'll never get sick of kings of convenience, their amazing musicianship on top of the sentimental value I place on some of these songs.

the only thing they could do better would be to write something new soon dammit

April 9th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Quiet, understated and melancholic. Kind of like subtle acoustic music infused with a little bit of jazz and electronica. Throw in a few upbeat tracks like I'd Rather Dance With You into the mix, you'd probably have Riot on an Empty Street. The lyrics are often quiet and pensive in this album. Tracks like The Build-Up, Misread, Cayman Islands and Live Long will leave with breathless and awestruck. This album is great for listening to on lazy days! And it only gets better with each listen!

May 19th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One of the albums i will always remember, came at the right moment, with the right sounds and the right vibe.

It followed with a chain of Feist, Erlend Oye and Whitest Boy Alive that just got better!

May 19th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

One of the albums i will always remember, came at the right moment, with the right sounds and the right vibe.

It followed with a chain of Feist, Erlend Oye and Whitest Boy Alive that just got better!

July 11th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

something about this album irritates me. i think it's their attitude.

October 19th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

boy, do i sure love KOC. golly

November 5th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i need to listen to declaration of dependence still. i think this is the only album with a review.

November 5th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

get on that!

i just downloaded declaration... i excited

November 5th 2012


never heard, bit inconvenient

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