If you haven’t heard of Erlend Øye, but know the musical duo Kings Of Convenience, then you might recognize him as the sympathetic ginger with huge thick glasses and a soothing voice. He is a well-rounded musician, a singer, guitarist, producer as well as a songwriter. Even though he made his name through Kings Of Convenience, he also had many other projects such as The Whitest Boy Alive and numerous solo albums.
KOC is basically two guys jamming, playing guitar and singing. In terms of genre, they can be defined as acoustic indie pop. There are countless indie musicians out there but KOC have quite a distinctive sound. The vocals of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe mesh together so well, it’s calming to the ear and the usage of violins every once in a while just adds a little something special.
Below is our favourite song by Kings Of Convenience, “Boat Behind”
Erlend’s second band, Whitest Boy Alive is made up of German and Norwegian musicians. Our pick from Whitest Boy Alive is “Burning.” In this song you can easily see the influences of his childhood favourites The Cure and The Smiths. The lyrics are quite similar to that of the Smiths with a general themes of love and remarks on life. It’s safe to say Erlend’s voice is much softer than that of both Morrissey and Robert Smith. Perhaps that is why he is viewed as a good boy, a rather amicable vocalist in contrast to the gothic Morrissey.
“Unrest” is Erlend Øye’s first solo album. Each song on the album was recorded in a different city, from Rome to New York. His solo music could be defined as chilled out indie with a hints of electronic. What makes him so special is his voice; it’s just so soothing that whether its a sunny morning or a rainy afternoon its always the right decision to give him a listen. He has these feel good songs that make you want to dance. Garota (brazilian for girl) is one of his most famous songs off the album:
His gig at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire is the tour for his latest album “Legao,” released from Bubbles Records, the label Øye founded. These were his remarks on the show: “First stop London. Me and my Rainbows will play songs from Lego, plus songs in Italian, songs from Unrest and the odd surprise from my long career as a nasal vocalist..” Even though the album is relatively new, the crowd certainly knew the lyrics to quite a few songs, particularly enjoying ‘Bad Guy Now’ and “Rainman.’ He also sang in Italian and played his most famous solo songs such as Garota. The only disappointment was the fact that he did not perform any of his King’s Of Convenience songs… He was as good live as he is on recordings and he was also a genuine entertainer, with great jokes and flowing conversation.
Erlend was eager to introduce his backing band The Rainbows to the audience. They created a great vibe on stage, casually chatting every once in a while with each other. The organ player Sigurdur Gudmundsson was incredibly talented and he sang a solo song in Icelandic for us. The crowd really enjoyed it as it was similar to Erlend Oye’s music – a melodic song with a simple guitar accompaniment. Even though it was a new language for us it was quite easy to get used to, as Sigurdur’s voice was as comforting as Erlend’s.
This is a glimpse of what he sounds like live:
Erlend is now heading to Argentina and Mexico continuing the tour of his new album! We had a great time at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and would strongly recommend everyone to see him live!
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