You don’t hear many bands coming from Australia these days. Somehow the indie wave seemed to ignore the land down under, but eclectic band Architecture In Helsinki (AIH) aims to make somewhat weird, somewhat retro, somewhat WTF music with their third album Places Like This.
As with their first two albums Fingers Crossed (2003) and In Case We Die (2005), AIH doesn’t take their music too seriously and creates very playful pseudo-electronic rock. One reason why this six-member group can make such original music: they can all play multiple instruments. While that might not sufficient cause for such creativity, having so many instrumental options delimits the band’s options and thus allows greater freedom.
The result is songs like the opening track, which could be the theme song to a modern hybrid of Revenge Of The Nerds and Weird Science (“Red Turned White”); the animalistic and pagan-sounding “Heart It Races;” or even the track that could be mistaken for a Modest Mouse song (“Lazy (Lazy)”).
AIH experiments with an R&B and funk sound, and the band manages to maintain a retro tone without being nostalgic or obvious. You could figure “Feather In A Baseball Cap” was meant to capture an above-the-law badass attitude, but staggers from stylized choppiness. “Debbie” is more consistent, both in terms of 70s-ness and AIH style.
Places Like This plays a very brisk pace and before you know it the album’s over. The musical variety is outstanding, ranging from an off-the-wall dance track (“Hold Music” – see video here) to an acid-less psychedelic aquatic adventure (“Underwater”) to a more traditional Architecture In Helsinki track (“Nothing’s Wrong”). Music is becoming more hybridized all the time, but I don’t think any band has as much fun as AIH.