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Oslo

The Rise and Fall of Love and Hate

(Six Feet; US: 6 Nov 2007; UK: Available as import)

A stubborn Britrock influence pervades this American band’s sophomore recording. The Rise & Fall of Love and Hate is part shoegaze, part understated soft-loud dynamic, with a little Interpol and Oasis thrown in, but all dreamy rock through and through. The guitars jingle and flap around buoyantly, sounding more than anything like distant relatives of U2’s The Edge (the pretentiously epic title tips a knowing nod in that group’s direction too). Oslo has even less chuckles on offer than the Snow Patrols of the world they sidle neatly up next to. What they do have is a redemptive understanding of the urgency and thoughtfulness they need to make their record connect, plus a sparse, desolate candlelit setting on hand to tug you into the record’s intimacy. Notice how “Slowdive” preens its serviceable chorus reliving a past relationship, or how selflessly lead singer Mattia Borrani dons a ludicrously fake British accent on “On My Mind”. “Things Fall Apart” would be a shallow stab at radio play if Oslo weren’t so determinedly indie, and strings are everywhere through “Crowded Room”, but Borrani still steers the ship through the flurry of foreign instrumentation. “Do you want me as I want tonight?” he pines. Don’t let his words fool you: this disc is all murky exploration and no adventure.

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