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Customer Review

on 10 December 2004
The 'New Acoustic Movement'- for those who don't remember- was a failed genre revival by the NME, which is now swept firmly under their crowded rug. Needless to say, most of the acts are probably back in their pre-folk star office jobs, with the exception of breezy songsmiths Turin Brakes and this lot, a kitten-soft, Simon and Garfunkel-esque Norwegian duo. Since their debut, Quiet Is The New Loud, quietly barged its way onto every self-respecting hipster's coffee table, Eirik Glambek (the cool one) and Erlend Oye (the geeky one) have kept themselves busy by organising superb remix albums, making so-so solo albums and opening the doors for Norway's new musical elite, such as mega-selling chillout act Royksopp.
Riot On An Empty Street is QITNL's much-anticipated follow-up proper. It treads the exact same ground as its classic predecessor: hypnotic acoustic guitar lines, fluffy nice-boy vocals and a Twee Factor to rival Belle And Sebastian. The only exception to these three rules is red herring single I'd Rather Dance With You, which comes equipped with drums and a delightfully uncool retro beat. The lack of pace-change may cause sniggers from alt.rock's too-cool-for-school community, but no one can deny how irritatingly listenable these songs are, even if the final three songs all seem rather superfluous. But like the cream of the singer-songwriters and über-quiet neo-folkies, Riot On An Empty Street is far from just mood music. Glambek's gorgeous voice could calm any stressed soul, but some of his tales of lost love are genuinely sad. 44 minutes of gentle, boundary-conforming acoustic music may seem like hell for those with short attention spans, but after multiple plays, your indie-snob doubts will vanish. A truly lovely set of songs which deserves far more than the occasional spin at a dinner party.
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