Kings Of Convenience have been absent from our lives for too damn long.
The Norwegian duo - childhood friends Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe - made fans wait for their fourth album, with the release of 'Peace Or Love' a few months back ending a decade-long gap between full length projects.
Taking to the stage at London's Royal Festival Hall, the pair clearly had a point to prove. Their second show of the day, Clash sits down to catch a group who have already breezed through a matinee show, and are relishing the ability to re-connect with audiences.
It's a curious set list, one that absents long-time favourites - such as early single 'Toxic Girl' - in favour of allowing their new project to breathe. Yet such appalling stubbornness isn't without merit - live, the material from 'Peace Or Love' seems to instantly connect with the crowd, swept along by the graceful musicianship and dry Nordic humour.
'Comb My Hair' is a gentle opener, while 'Cayman Islands' seems shrouded in a beatific glow, despite the stripped back - just two guitars and two voices - setting.
It's not without the odd issue, however. Erlend Øye reveals that his beloved guitar was cracked during a haphazard visit to customs - Clash didn't notice anything untoward with the instrument's performance, however, with the evening serving to highlight the intricate simplicity of their guitar playing.
The odd dip into the catalogue aside - a formidable take on '24-25' for example - the initial set remains fixated on the new album, a sign of the pair's confidence in their material. Returning for a jovial encore, Kings Of Convenience loosened up with a trip into the past; Erlend sings 'Mrs. Cold' from the darkness of the side of the stage, before gleefully shaking out some dance moves to an exuberant 'I'd Rather Dance With You'.
It's an evening of re-connection, both with each other and the audience. The Royal Festival Hall is a magnificent venue, the right hub for the pair's baroque flourishes, but what comes across most strongly is the easy-going chemistry onstage, from a group who are aiming themselves squarely at the future.
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Words: Robin Murray
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