Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on 31 December 2005
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.