Source - 2001 - 45 minutes

From the unlikely surroundings of Bergen, the rain capital of Norway's east coast, via acclaimed French label, Source (home to Air and Phoenix, amongst others) come the unfortunately named Kings of Convenience. Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye are a sweet-voiced twenty-first century Simon and Garfunkel, beautifully harmonising guitars and voices on songs of ex-girlfriends and failed loves.

Their lyrics are down-beat, and frequently despairing, yet slip down easily, encased as they are in sugar-coated melodies: 'even though she's only giving me pain/I'll be on my knees to feed her/spend a day to make her smile again' (Winning a Battle, Losing the War). Toxic Girl, a bittersweet tale of an admirer 'waiting in the shadows for a chance', just avoids toppling into stalker territory, instead summoning up all the yearning of the eternal outsider: 'everyday she's seen with someone else/and every night she kisses someone new - never you'. Coming dangerously close to being twee at times, they just about manage to pull it off.

If quiet is indeed the new loud or black or whatever then Eirik and Erlend are on to a sure winner. A bittersweet pop album to wrap yourself up in when the world feels like a scary place.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: Winning a Battle, Losing the War - Toxic Girl - Singing Softly to Me - I Don't Know What I Can Save You From - Failure - Weight of My Words - Girl From Back Then - Leaning Against the Wall - Little Kids - Summer on the Westhill - The Passenger - Parallel lines