Quiet Is The New Loud

Kings Of Convenience

Astralwerks, 2001


REVIEW BY: Benny Balneg


Norway has a breadth of musicians making waves in the international scene. I'm talking about the black metal bands who are not only making putridly chilling (if not comical) songs about hatred and destruction, but also espouse their extremist ideals through actions (church burnings, anyone?)

However, from a gamut of spiteful bands in that land, there exists an anomalous entity that is fairly deserving of recognition in the global scene because it performs music that is the exact opposite of the pack. If nothing else, the collection of heartfelt and emotive songs on Quiet Is The New Loud puts Kings of Convenience in a very awkward position.

From the trails left by Nico's commanding guitar melodies and hints of Elliott Smith's uplifting, yet melancholic songwriting, Erlend ye and Erik Glambek Be have successfully carried the torch of naked guitar pieces unabashed of feelings and emotions into today's music, becoming one of the more relevant indie-folk groups around. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Quiet Is The New Loud equates to the brisk walk in the park during a fairly cloudy afternoon. It achieves the effect of sympathizing with your well-developed feelings and emotions during the mood-inducing songs. Imagine a shade during the summer where people can just relax and think of things. Kings of Convenience shelters that spot with this album.

If “Winning The Battle, Losing The War” were any indication of the duo's deft songwriting and ear for melody, it also parlayed what would possibly be one of dichotomy. The lovely and romantic melody that the song exhibits is countered with somber lyrics and vocal performance, giving a cathartic listening experience. Being one of the group's strongest tracks, this definitely hits all the right places.

The band's music rings true of its name. Aside from the moody pieces, upbeat numbers such as “I Don't Know What I Can Save You From” and “Failure” pepper the piece. The former, the best track here, offers jangling guitar chords and a tasty acoustic guitar lick under cool and collected vocals. The latter song gives a very memorable chorus with “Failure /  is always the best way to learn.”

However, 'upbeat' in this sense is only limited to the way your grandma power walks in the mall. The happier moments leave the listener in a feeling of hovering, not moving, but even then the layers of guitars and vocal harmony gives depth and life to the music. A small gripe with the production is that the voice is too upfront in the music, making the vocals unnecessarily reverberate.

The bossa nova trappings of “The Girl From Back Then” and the subtle orchestrations of “Summer On The Westhill” feature contrasting styles, but both inhibit the moody theatrics of the albums. All in all, Quiet Is The New Loud will definitely please the introvert in you.

However, the album further proves that the Norwegian populace is not really happy and could do with more exposure to the sun.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2007 Benny Balneg and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Astralwerks, and is used for informational purposes only.