Architecture In Helsinki : Moment Bends
"Am I guilty? Boy, you decide." It's a legitimate question raised within the impossibly catchy hook on sorta-lead single Contact High. After a series of well-received, but hardly revelatory albums filled with rough-edged indie-pop tracks, Architecture In Helsinki have simply said "fuck it" and gone and produced a smooth, straight-faced unashamedly-pop record.
The warning signs were there early on, with garish, guilty pleasure covers such as Break My Stride weaselling their way into live setlists (that track, by the way, has manifested into the similar-sounding Moment Bends opener Desert Island). But funnily enough, the new shtick fits them like a tailored sequin tuxedo.
With so many musicians seemingly affixed upon apocalyptic, dystopian visions of humanity, it's pretty damn refreshing to have artists revel in ostensibly irony-devoid celebrations of blissful constructs - a veritable Land Of Chocolate. It's in this sense that Architecture In Helsinki take on the role of an Escapee - the part they were born to play. They proclaim: "this escapee was never gonna stay."
Musically, the only touchstone that comes anywhere near Escapee is the boppy melody that threads BRODYQUEST (Youtube it, it's amazing). On Desert Island, in which Australia's geographical isolation is examined, we hear frontman Cameron Bird crooning about his "head down in the sand, no complications."
Listening to such unbridled pop is indeed analogous to placing your head in the sand, and what's wrong with that? It's like when Randy Newman appraised his darkly-wry hit I Love LA by saying "There's some kind of ignorance LA has that I'm proud of. The open car and the redhead, The Beach Boys... that sounds really good to me." It's a backhanded compliment delivered with a velvet glove. The album functions as a counterpoint to Mad Max, in its dissection of the Aussie landscape.
That Beep was released as a single late in 2008, signalling the beginning of a smoother, more palatable sonic realm. With the track surfacing so many moons ago, it's a little surprising to see it surface unaltered on a longplayer almost two and a half years later. Though it might seem like an iffy stratagem, the track bolsters the closing half of the record - eliminating any sense of top-heaviness.
I'll call it - this is the Australian pop album of the year. Which year exactly, I'm not sure. 1985? 1992? 2011? Who knows. But I am sure that, in the case of these bastard tectonic plates continuing to go apeshit and happening to shift our fair continent right up into Europe, I wouldn't hesitate in nominating Architecture In Helsinki as our maiden Eurovision ambassadors.
Best Track: Contact High
If You Like These, You'll Love This: Anniemal ANNIE, Affirmation SAVAGE GARDEN
In A Word: Bouncy