too much electronic for me
Aqua anyone?
not that predictable, but close

Grade - 1.3

released May 3rd, 2011

from the album - Contact High - 1.0

from all music


The Australian indie pop ensemble Architecture in Helsinki hail from Fitzroy,
Melbourne, and have counted multi-instrumentalists Cameron Bird, James Cecil,
Gus Franklin, Isobel Knowles, Jamie Mildren, Sam Perry, Tara Shackell, and
Kellie Sutherland among their ranks. The band's musical arsenal is even bigger
than its roster, featuring instruments as diverse as analog synths and samplers,
glockenspiel, tuba, clarinet, and recorder along with the more predictable
drums, bass, and guitar. Architecture in Helsinki began playing in 2000,
crafting a mix of indie, electronic, and pop that they recorded and occasionally
performed live. The collective began recording its debut album, Fingers Crossed,
in 2002 in a variety of places ranging from beach houses to proper studios;
Bar/None released the album in spring 2004. Following a hectic year of touring
and recording, the group turned around another album, In Case We Die, in 2005.
The release drew glowing reviews, fixing Architecture in Helsinki as one of that
year's most promising and idiosyncratic indie acts. Frontman and primary
songwriter Bird relocated to Brooklyn a year later, where he and producer James
Cecil put the finishing touches on the group's third effort, Places Like This.
The album was released on Polyvinyl in 2007. Bird returned to Australia and the
group, now a quintet including Perry, Mildren, Sutherland, and Franklin,
released the That Beep single in 2008. They recorded their fourth album in their
studio, Buckingham Palace, over the course of two years. The result was Moment
Bends, which was released in early 2011.

Album Review

It took Architecture in Helsinki a while to follow up Places Like This, which
they had recorded with founder Cameron Bird in Brooklyn and the rest of the
group scattered across the globe. All the bandmembers reconvened in Australia to
make Moment Bends, and it’s hard not to think that this is a large part of why
they sound much more focused than they did before. The 2008 single “That Beep”
-- which they recorded during the two years they holed up in their studio,
Buckingham Palace, making this album -- suggested that Architecture in Helsinki
were back to their usual bouncy and irrepressible selves with a veneer of sleek
synth pop. Moment Bends makes good on the single’s promise, with Architecture in
Helsinki moving forward by looking back -- not only to their own skills with
hooks and melodies, but to ‘80s synth pop too. “Desert Island” captures the
album’s feel, its artificial tropical paradise coming across like a strange but
appealing hybrid of Wham! and Matthew Wilder's “Break My Stride.” It also
features some of Bird's finest singing to date, falling somewhere in between his
earlier wispy vocals and his forced throatiness on Places Like This. Indeed,
much of Moment Bends finds the band discovering a happy medium between its old
and new sounds, as on “Everything’s Blue,” which tempers Places Like This'
attempts at funk with a fresher and more natural approach. Architecture in
Helsinki don’t so much borrow from the ‘80s as they embody them, whether on
“Denial Style”'s Paisley Park pop or “Contact High” and “Sleep Talkin”'s lightly
soulful, Culture Club-like approach. At times, the pristine sonics overwhelm the
actual songs, and the lone ballad “B4 3D” closes the album on a slightly
anticlimactic note, but overall Moment Bends is a return to form, if not quite
as inspired as Architecture in Helsinki's best moments.

Track Listing

1 Escapee
2 Contact High
3 W.O.W
4 Sleep Talkin'
5 Yr Go To
6 That Beep
7 Denial Style
8 Everything's Blue
9 Desert Island
10 I Know Deep Down
11 Out Of Focus
12 B4 3D