Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Architecture in Helsinki


The last album by Architecture in Helsinki was a bit of a hit a couple of years ago. Loads of people (mainly music bloggers, as I remember) extolled the virtues of In Case We Die, but I never really gave it any time. Not that I thought it was poor, I just didn’t bother for some reason. So the release of the Aussie band’s new album Places Like These sees me approaching it like meeting a friend of a friend who comes with a glowing reputation. People have told me he’s a great guy, but I wonder he’s really like.

On the surface of things it’s all looking rosy. There’s a certain controlled chaos about the songs, which is eminently pleasing. There are shouty boy/girl vocals, which makes it sound like the whole band want to get in on the signing duties. There’s fuzzy guitars and squelchy synths. There’s singalong pop songs with big, meaty hooks. They even attempt pop-funk on occasions with a reasonable degree of success. At other times they come across as a more indie B-52s.

When this album works, particularly on tracks like Hold Music, Like it or Not and Debbie, it’s a real up-tempo delight. But at other times there’s just something that despite all the proper ingredients doesn’t seem to be quite working for me. I think it’s the fun factor. Now, this album does initially seem like a lot of fun, but I can’t help but feeling that some if it is trying just a bit too hard to be fun. It’s a bit like these times when you feel there’s too much pressure to have a good time, and as a result it comes away feeling a little forced, and not as free-flowing as it would like to be.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get to see them at the End of the Road Festival, and I’ll have my opinion changed. Maybe live is where it’s at, and the fun factor will make sense. We’ll see. In the meantime, embrace it if you want, just don’t expect fireworks. If Places Like These were a person, I’d sort of like them, but all the time I'd be wondering if they really were my type after all.

Download: Architecture in Helsinki – Heart it Races

Here's a bonus of a Heart it Races remix

Download: Architecture in Helsinki - Heart it Races (Trizzy's Rusty Tin Can Mix)
[via KEXP]

And even better than that, an ace recording of this track by the ever-excellent Vincent Moon.



Pre-order Places Like These (out later this month)

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