Kings of Convenience Quiet Is the New Loud

Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe are Norway's ruling monarchs of nerd pop, and they take the crown with Quiet Is the New Loud, winning the hearts of swooning indie rock girls and sensitive boys everywhere. They remain a cross between a sexier Simon & Garfunkel and Belle and Sebastian without the annoying self-righteous attitude. Their melodic sense is unparalleled, their lyrics are beautiful and understated, and the production touches that have been brought in for this album are note perfect, not overwhelming but providing just the right dressing to their simple pop masterpieces. Fully half of this album consists of tracks from the band's self-titled Kindercore debut, but the reaction is more "I know this song, I love this song" than disappointment with new versions. They met at the age of 11 at a geography competition (Erlend won because he could freehand draw a map of the world in under five minutes - how adorably nerdy is that?) and now they've blossomed into the future of pop music. Or at least your new favourite album. (Astralwerks)