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In Case We Die
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Smash together the Fiery Furnaces and the Arcade Fire, with a dash of the Polyphonic Spree's tweeness. That pretty much describes the sound of Architecture in Helsinki's second album, "In Case We Die." Well, fortunately these guys don't suffer from the sophomore slump.

This octet hails from Melbourne, but they sound a lot like the Furnaces, with their adventurous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pop, handclaps and unpretentious bits and bobs. It's obvious from the start that this is no typical catchy pop album -- "Nevereverdid" is a bouncy maelstrom of twee guitar, desperate vocals and a shouted chorus.

"It'5" continues that trend, but then things switch gears into gently cluttered ballads -- expect piano, drums and accordion -- and unabashedly weird pop tunes with tambourines, synth, horns and rippling piano. There's even an Indian-flavoured ska/dance tune. All bets are off. All rules are broken here, and the results are never predictable.

Perhaps Architecture In Helsinki is often compared to the Fiery Furnaces because neither band fits easily into one category. "In Case We Die" is a head-scratcher -- it's too grounded to be twee, too bizarre to be pop, too soft to be rock, too straightforward to be psychedelica. And despite odd bits of new wave, there's no retro sound either.

Whatever it is, it's apparently dedicated to being fun and whimsical. Their pop music would be fun just because of its catchiness, but this band throws in every little pop flourish imaginable, and apparently every instrument they could get their hands on. One would expect a disaster, but somehow they manage to link all those sounds together.

A few songs initially seem over-the-top in their bubblegumness, but they manage to veer off into playfulness instead. Especially since none of the lyrics make sense -- except for the slightly dark finale ("Carve your name into my arm/cos I long to feel your name blood red"), the songwriting is what Lewis Carroll would have written, if he had been in a rock band. "Tonight the neon answers flare./Occasionally we stop and stare/past tiny paintings painted where/all the clouds were wrong."

A glorious little album full of crazy-quilt pop, "In Case We Die" is a triumph of indiepop insanity. It's crazy and lovin' it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2006
There's something undeniably childlike about In Case We Die, the second album from Architecture In Helsinki. Yet, for every propulsive drum beat or gleeful handclap, there's a sad segue or moment of tender guitar playing.
Few bands are able to straddle this line between childhood and adulthood, and to do it, the Melbourne eight-piece take a dizzying detour through genres that even Arcade Fire would struggle to keep up with. On the opener, Neverevereverdid, the listener is sped through opera, classical and jazz before the track collapses in a prog rock meltdown. And all in three minutes, thirty-three seconds. Later, there's the twee mathematics of It's 5 and the cute dance pop of Do The Whirlwind.
And yet, from the album's first sounds - funeral bells ringing - to it's last, the theme of mortality is everywhere (ghosts, cemeteries and reincarnation all feature heavily). The feeling is that we should sing, dance and celebrate now, because it might be the last chance we have.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Smash together the Fiery Furnaces and the Arcade Fire, with a dash of the Polyphonic Spree's tweeness. That pretty much describes the sound of Architecture in Helsinki's second album, "In Case We Die." Well, fortunately these guys don't suffer from the sophomore slump.

This octet hails from Melbourne, but they sound a lot like the Furnaces, with their adventurous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pop, handclaps and unpretentious bits and bobs. It's obvious from the start that this is no typical catchy pop album -- "Nevereverdid" is a bouncy maelstrom of twee guitar, desperate vocals and a shouted chorus.

"It'5" continues that trend, but then things switch gears into gently cluttered ballads -- expect piano, drums and accordion -- and unabashedly weird pop tunes with tambourines, synth, horns and rippling piano. There's even an Indian-flavoured ska/dance tune. All bets are off. All rules are broken here, and the results are never predictable.

Perhaps Architecture In Helsinki is often compared to the Fiery Furnaces because neither band fits easily into one category. "In Case We Die" is a head-scratcher -- it's too grounded to be twee, too bizarre to be pop, too soft to be rock, too straightforward to be psychedelica. And despite odd bits of new wave, there's no retro sound either.

Whatever it is, it's apparently dedicated to being fun and whimsical. Their pop music would be fun just because of its catchiness, but this band throws in every little pop flourish imaginable, and apparently every instrument they could get their hands on. One would expect a disaster, but somehow they manage to link all those sounds together.

A few songs initially seem over-the-top in their bubblegumness, but they manage to veer off into playfulness instead. Especially since none of the lyrics make sense -- except for the slightly dark finale ("Carve your name into my arm/cos I long to feel your name blood red"), the songwriting is what Lewis Carroll would have written, if he had been in a rock band. "Tonight the neon answers flare./Occasionally we stop and stare/past tiny paintings painted where/all the clouds were wrong."

A glorious little album full of crazy-quilt pop, "In Case We Die" is a triumph of indiepop insanity. It's crazy and lovin' it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 14 November 2005
Transcending most of their influences, the new Architecture in Helsinki album is melting pot of ideas, most of which work. There are nods to the Flaming Lips, Belle & Sebastian, Beck, Olivia Tremor Control and most of all The Unicorns, but this isn't to say the album isn't innovative and interesting in it's own right. Songs regularly contain 2 or 3 different chorus's (and about 5 different vocal melodies) and switch between male and female vocals (with plenty of breezy ahhs and oohs to underpin them). There's also a plethora of instruments being played (somewhere in the region of 40) and more ideas than most bands can manage in a career. In fact it's only failing is it's occassional lapse into tweeness (acceptable in my view due to the utter gusto displayed by all involved).
It's exciting and fun and well worth a listen. Musical tapas.
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Smash together the Fiery Furnaces and the Arcade Fire, with a dash of the Polyphonic Spree's tweeness. That pretty much describes the sound of Architecture in Helsinki's second album, "In Case We Die." Well, fortunately these guys don't suffer from the sophomore slump.

This octet hails from Melbourne, but they sound a lot like the Furnaces, with their adventurous everything-but-the-kitchen-sink pop, handclaps and unpretentious bits and bobs. It's obvious from the start that this is no typical catchy pop album -- "Nevereverdid" is a bouncy maelstrom of twee guitar, desperate vocals and a shouted chorus.

"It'5" continues that trend, but then things switch gears into gently cluttered ballads -- expect piano, drums and accordion -- and unabashedly weird pop tunes with tambourines, synth, horns and rippling piano. There's even an Indian-flavoured ska/dance tune. All bets are off. All rules are broken here, and the results are never predictable.

Perhaps Architecture In Helsinki is often compared to the Fiery Furnaces because neither band fits easily into one category. "In Case We Die" is a head-scratcher -- it's too grounded to be twee, too bizarre to be pop, too soft to be rock, too straightforward to be psychedelica. And despite odd bits of new wave, there's no retro sound either.

Whatever it is, it's apparently dedicated to being fun and whimsical. Their pop music would be fun just because of its catchiness, but this band throws in every little pop flourish imaginable, and apparently every instrument they could get their hands on. One would expect a disaster, but somehow they manage to link all those sounds together.

A few songs initially seem over-the-top in their bubblegumness, but they manage to veer off into playfulness instead. Especially since none of the lyrics make sense -- except for the slightly dark finale ("Carve your name into my arm/cos I long to feel your name blood red"), the songwriting is what Lewis Carroll would have written, if he had been in a rock band. "Tonight the neon answers flare./Occasionally we stop and stare/past tiny paintings painted where/all the clouds were wrong."

A glorious little album full of crazy-quilt pop, "In Case We Die" is a triumph of indiepop insanity. It's crazy and lovin' it.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2005
Irrestible upbeat aussie 8 piece use every instrument known and all sing. Sounds like everything ever stuck together or the Cure eating a Doo Wap salad in Motown whilst watching to the Swirlies perform a Volcano the Bear cover of the drop 19's winona hit.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2007
I bought this after reading good reviews in the press and also reading the reviews already posted here on Amazon. I've got to say this is a huge disappointment! I have very little that's positive to say about this other than I like the first track, "Nevereverdid" and the last (unnamed) track's not too bad either. Between these two highlights lie 11 tracks which are at best forgettable and at worst highly irritating.

Lyrically this is so twee it is become utterly infantile, "It's 5" is particularly irritating with the silly shouting of "It's 5" all the time in a ridiculous screechy voice. "Tiny Painting" is completely forgettable (I only had it playing 2 minutes ago and already I've forgotten it!!) "Wishbone" - well I keep expecting the singer to start chanting "Hey Mickey, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind" (Altered Images?). Yes it's a song and frankly an entire album that seems to delight in taking an affectionate nod at the eighties that decade of utter musical despair (I know, I remember it). Whereas the best of indie music (Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands, the sadly defunct Unicorns, and the best efforts of the Elephant 6 collective take a nod to great music from the 60's and 70's or even better strike out on their own, Architecture seem to delight in the absolute worst of musical influences. To be honest the rest of the inside tracks are equally as banal, though "Cemetery" easily wins worst track award - painful.

This is quite unforgettably bad though the first track is good enough to stop it getting the dreaded 1 star! There is a surfeit of pointless experimentation here. Lots of instruments that seem to be played merely because members of the band CAN play them. Most of it is entirely unneccesary. Experimentation is fine (think Neutral Milk Hotel to see it done superbly) but what Architecture in Helsinki seem to have completely forgotten are 2 cardinal rules:

No. 1 - It's fine to experiment if the songs are good. Sadly there really aren't any good tunes here. There aren't even any memorable tunes! Most of the tracks have no melody but seem merely to be an amalgamation of tinkling and background brass and synths.

No 2 You need a good singer! The vocalists on here are pretty awful. The male lead has one of those horrible forced voices that you come across in someone who's just trying too hard because he knows he's not really up to it. I've heard better karaoke singers to be honest. And the female singers, well they just can't sing can they.

I'm not sure if this whole thing was meant to be a joke. I just can't believe they're taking this stuff seriously. This has to be some of the most twee stuff I've ever come across. It would suit a 10 year old perhaps but I'm sure that's not what they were aiming at.

Sorry I really don't like this one. In fact it was irritating me so much in the car the other day I had to turn it off, as it was puting me in a right bad mood for work! So much for this being jokey and upbeat! It's just NOT funny. (3/10)
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