Riot on an Empty Street

The Norwegian Simon and Garfunkel build their Bookends such clever boys! with this album's wondrous opener, "Homesick," Norway's Kings of Convenience have created the acoustic equivalent of an M.C. Escher drawing, as Erlend Oye plays a distracted clerk in love with the song he inhabits. "I'll lose some sales, and my boss won't be happy/But I can't stop listening to the sound of two soft voices blended in perfection," Oye sings, joined in harmony by co-King Eirik Glambek Boe. Echoing the tone and title of their 2001 album Quiet Is the New Loud, Riot on an Empty Street shimmers with melancholy beauty, leavened by the breezy bossa nova of "Live Long" and the front-porch disco of "Love Is No Big Truth" -- the best banjo-laced dance track since the Disco Four's 1982 "Country Rock and Rap."

ROB O'CONNOR, rollingstone.com