Summer sunshine...from Melbourne, not Helsinki!
Michael Quinn 2007-08-10
First things first: Architecture in Helsinki are not architects and they’re not from Helsinki. Hell, they’re not even Finnish. But they do sound rather like you imagine summer on Bondi Beach might sound: sun-scorched and slightly drunken with just a hint of sea salt and barbecues in the air.
Places Like These is the third full-length outing for a six-piece outfit that began its life in Melbourne. Recorded at relative speed in New York, where writer/vocalist Cameron Bird now lives, it is completely – and deliriously – at odds with 2005’s In Case We Die. Imagine you’ve dropped your iPod from a great height but it still works, only nothing on it now sounds quite like you remember. Somehow, it actually sounds better!
Immediately apparent is the sheer, undiluted joy in and of the music-making: a hectic, often hilarious helter-skelter that screws itself up into an impeccably crafted collision of instantly catchy sounds that prove to be more contagious than even an escaped foot and mouth vaccine.
This is as effervescent and intoxicating as pop music gets. Sounding disconcertingly like Toto Coelo covering The Art of Noise, “Heart It Races” offers a neon-bright, billboard-high clue to the lunatic idiosyncrasy about to spill out from every available digital nook and cranny. “Hold Music” is The B52s spruced up and reinvigorated, all loopy guitars, cowbell percussion and a ridiculously catchy 'give it to me baby, give it to me' lyric lacing everything together.
“Feather In A Baseball Cap” offers a grown-up version of The Scissor Sisters, “Underwater” a liquescent take on Black Grape and “Debbie” is a simply glorious falsetto-filled, brass-backed heady hymnal to sinning.
In all, Architecture in Helsinki build beautifully infectious songs that induce a spring in the step and place a genuine smile on the lips. Clever, pop literate and not a little sophisticated, they remind you that music can be fun and all the better for it. Go on, treat yourself this summer!