koc_declarationIt’s been five years since Kings of Convenience last released an album (Riot on an Empty Street) and in that time there have been plenty of bands filling the hole they left behind marked “Quiet is The New Loud”.The reconvening of duo Erlend Øye and Eirik Bøe might get some hot under the cardigan collar, but is their latest, Declaration of Dependence, worth the wait?It all starts off promisingly enough, with the daintily plucked guitar of '24-25', delicately sound-tracking the sound of leaves falling from the trees. Øye and Bøe’s voices compliment each other perfectly here, and as many have mentioned before, it’s not unkind to suggest that they’re basically a Norwegian Simon and Garfunkle.'Mrs Cold' follows, and at this point you’d be forgiven for thinking that Declaration of Dependence is going to be a pretty fine album. Jaunty and fresh sounding, 'Mrs Cold' would sound perfect tumbling from the speakers of a 2CV as its occupants enjoy a nice baguette a suitably rural roadside. Despite the sunny disposition of the melody lines, this is a song that ruminates on the complexities of a turbulent relationship. Should you find yourself on a roadside enjoying a baguette with your companion as this plays in the background, you’d best check the filling for cyanide.'Me in You' is another delicate finger picking tune that sounds more summery than perhaps it should. Stabs at weighty lyrical conceits are hampered somewhat by clumsy metaphors however. “I see you building the castle with one hand, while tearing it down with the other” Øye and Bøe observe in typically aloof fashion. You’re left feeling that perhaps they should find someone else to take to the beach next time they want to make castles, or they should stop moaning.It’s their aloofness that hamstrings a lot of these songs. No matter how serious the subject matter, it’s always delivered in the same wispy, detached manner. An argument with Kings of Convenience would, you suspect, be rather frustrating if not nearly impossible.'Boat Behind' is another skip through the world of despair. Upbeat and with a distinctly French flavour, the vocal elements are instantly at odds with the musical accompaniment. “Ohhh, woah, woa-oh, I could never belong to you” they chant at the chorus, and you imagine them doing a little dance in front their spurned lovers before throwing their berets in the air and taking off on a tandem.From here on in, things get a little one dimensional. As usual the neat little guitar lines scamper along, and the understated vocal melodies all play their part, but apart from the odd exception ('Renegade' is particularly notable for sounding suitably melancholy and strangely captivating) it becomes progressively more difficult to embrace the world of Kings of Convenience. There are plenty of deft touches, but ultimately the duo just sound like they’ve run out of steam and are becoming a little uninspired. Thirteen tracks is way too much time to spend in the company of this pair. Split the album into handy bite sized chunks, and it’s slightly more palatable, but as a whole it becomes an unrewarding slog.Kings of Convenience would do well to remember that declarations of any kind are best kept short and punchy for maximum impact. As it is, they meander for too long and everything that is good about this album is lost in a wash of half baked ideas.Kings of Convenience on Myspace