September 6, 2007

Record Review: Architecture In Helsinki

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Architecture In Helsinki is that rare music group that manages to escape traditional categorization. Even its name is misleading — the band is from Australia, not Finland. After a stellar In Case We Die, they’ve returned with Places Like This, a less cohesive but still entertaining record. Places Like This marks, if not a departure, then a diversion from their basic synthesized electro-pop sound, as the band branches out and incorporates new sounds into the mix. I admire their pluck in so doing, since this new sound is understandably less refined than the old. But to accommodate the new, some of the old must be sacrificed and among other sad omissions, the lack of their characteristic harmonizing and simple melodies lends the album a confused feel. However, Architecture does manage to bring a whole different sound into the album, combining Art Brut, Talking Heads, Paul Simon and Death Cab For Cutie, sometimes all in one track. It seems like a confused effort, but one still worth a listen.