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Places Like This

They’re a zesty bunch are Architecture In Helsinki, and never more so than on Places Like This.

Rating: 8 / 10

Francis Jones, 15 Aug 2007



They’re a zesty bunch are Architecture In Helsinki, and never more so than on Places Like This. Comprising a dizzying assortment of tones and textures, and including Caribbean rhythms, chimes, bongos and sassy synth in the eclectic mix, the Australian pop pioneers have created the sonic equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. Sounds are splattered with seeming abandon across their ten-track canvas, resulting in a colourful meshing of the marvellously free-flowing and the suitably tightly-reined. At times it all becomes a little bewildering, but generally their left-field sorties don’t take them too far from the path of melody.

The melee kicks off with ‘Red Turned White’, the combination of insanely grooving keys and Cameron Bird’s strident vocal producing a volatile compound. Bird signs off with the fateful, yet fitting words, “leaping off the end of the world.” And that’s the thing about Places Like This: it’s the sound of musicians refusing to be earthbound in their ambitions. Just listen to ‘Heart It Races’, an off-kilter rhythmic masterclass that possesses a “na, na, na” refrain to make the Kaiser Chiefs green with envy.

OK, so ‘Hold Music’ has an uncanny resemblance to B-52s, but hey, a few B-52isms never hurt anybody. Elsewhere ‘Debbie’ sounds like an invite to funked-up, party central, experimentation meeting accessibility at the midpoint called pop brilliance. It’s the sort of thing for which Modest Mouse are famed. And even when things don’t entirely work out – check ‘Like It Or Not’ for example – you’ve got to admire AIH’s willingness to risk failure rather than simply rewriting previous success stories. A mighty noise.


Rating: 8 / 10
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Australia’s a long way to come if you’re a band dealing in music that’s not going to sell millions, so most of their left-field gems tend to stay hidden. Architecture In Helsinki have made the trip and thank goodness for that, at least if 'Do The Whirlwind' is anything to go from. Based on a Human Leauge style synth bass line, it heads off in countless directions, throwing in female rapping, carnival style percussion and a brass section for good measure. Utterly wonderful.


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