Architecture in Helsinki
V2/Cooperative Music USA/Downtown
It's been over two years since Architecture in Helsinki released "That Beep," the single that was to precede the band's fourth full-length album. Then the band disappeared. Well, the long-awaited fourth album is finally here, and it sounds like the Australian indie-pop collective has spent the intervening years focused on revamping its sound. With the band's previous three albums, Architecture laid claim to the throne of eclectic, experimental, boundary-pushing pop music, something like a new Super Furry Animals in terms of invention and inventiveness.
Moment Bends is a great departure. Much like the sharp left turn recently made by another set of indie darlings, Noah and the Whale, Moment Bends finds Architecture going danceable mainstream. "That Beep" sets the stage with its ultra poppy dance-floor jubilation. "Escapee" is all burped synth rhythms and rump-shaking grooves, with an über-infectious melody and undeniable indie charm. "Contact High" has distinct Duran Duran-esque synth ambiance, the track being filled with treated vocals that are robotic yet full of feeling. Female-sung ballad "W.O.W" sounds straight out of 1986, as though it should somehow be on the soundtrack to Top Gun. It's the band's "Take Your Breath Away" moment, yet sounds like they listened to nothing but a steady diet of Stacey Q's "Two of Hearts" prior to penning it.
Never afraid to cop a new style or try something that might not work, Architecture in Helsinki has thrown listeners for a loop yet again. The funny thing is, as with the band's previous albums, the sonic direction befits them. Yes, there are moments that are not as successful as others—the album's final two songs underwhelm with either the song getting lost in the style, or the delivery failing to excite in typical Architecture fashion. Clearly, this is not the Architecture in Helsinki of 2005's In Case We Die or 2007's Places Like This—but you probably have those albums already anyway. (www.architectureinhelsinki.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 6/10