Apparently Architecture in Helsinki are shooting for a new sound in their forthcoming album, "Places like This" -- less twee, more colourful indiepop. "Heart It Races" shows off this new sound along with a bunch of remixes, which succeed in sounding like the Flaming Lips being locked in with a calypso band.
It opens with some hollow, zippy drums and male voices intoning, "Boom... boom.... boombadumpadump... boom..." Then it blooms out into a jumbled little pop tune, flavoured with calypso rhythms and some bouncy indiepop shimmies. It's not too impressive lyrically ("And we slow to acknowledge the knots in the laces/heart it races!"), but fortunately it's too fun and colourful for you to notice that the lyrics are nonsensical.
And then it gets remixed four times, usually making it even more interesting. There's Dr. Dog's languid, beach-party remix that basically just mellows it all out, while DJ Rupture doubles the accented Jamaican flavour. Yacht reworks it into a peppy, sprightly little electrocalypso tune that's more for dancing. But Hey Willpower turns out the only dud on the EP -- a sort of slick MTVish version with lots of moaning and canned beats.
"Heart it Races" sounds pretty different from Architecture in Helsinki's past work -- it's more grown-up and less kooky, as much as I adore their kookiness. It takes a little while for their new sound to sink in, and their warmth and sparkling energy really kick in.
The original song is a lovely cacophony of hand drums, kettle drums, little electronic shimmies, clattering sticks and some shimmering keyboard. The remixes do some lovely stuff with it too -- guitars, handclaps, sampling, and delicious swaths of blippy synth woven in like bright threads, especially in the Yacht remix. The only disappointment musically is the Hey Willpower one, which is full of simple beats and the repetitive little electric guitar riffs.
"Heart It Races" is a promising preview of Architecture in Helsinki's forthcoming third album, just so long as they keep Hey Willpower far away from it. A solid song and a solid EP, with one dud.
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