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Kings Of Convenience

'Quiet' Riot

KingsEuropean rock duo Kings Of Convenience releases its third album, "Riot on an Empty Street," this week via Astralwerks. The set finds group members Erlend Oye and Eirik Glambek Boe expanding on the quiet, acoustic framework of past releases with such instrumentation as trumpet, strings and banjo, not to mention a full-on pop song with drums, "I'd Rather Dance With You."

"Riot" is a marvel of economic songwriting and beautiful melodies with shades of Simon & Garfunkel and Nick Drake, from the heart-tugging opener "Homesick" to the gently bouncing "Misread." The set also includes a new recording of "Surprise Ice," which previously appeared on the limited-edition 2000 American release of KOC's self-titled album.

It's all the result of a truly collaborative process between the Berlin-based Oye and the Bergen, Norway-based Boe, who spent 600 hours in the studio crafting the finished product. "We tried out a lot of instruments and ended up throwing away most of it," Boe admits. "We just stayed with the basic, simple versions of the songs. There are some finished songs we weren't totally happy with, so we decided to leave them for later."

Recording with digital technology allowed the pair to capture the material in its natural state, without worrying about instrumental precision. "We want people to feel that when they hear our songs, they hear the two of us sitting by a microphone and playing," Boe says. "The fact that we recorded on a PC allowed us to keep a take and fix the little mistakes. We were still left with the natural sound we wanted to achieve."

Kings Of Convenience has European tour dates on tap through Aug. 14 in Leicester, England. Boe says the pair is planning a North American tour in the fall.