The Spinners

In Case We Die (Architecture in Helsinki, 2005)

In Australian, Electronica, Indie Pop, Rex Baylon on January 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

With their sophomore effort, In Case We Die, Architecture in Helsinki have not only perfected their unique brand of electronic twee-pop, but also have managed to craft epic and quite bombastic songs that are never derailed by the weight of their sonic experimentation. What makes their debut, Fingers Crossed, such a wonderful listen is the never-ending repertory of upbeat rhythms, fun danceable tracks, and the ability to embed images with simple auditory cues. In In Case We Die, these elements are still present; however, it seems that the band opts not to rest on their laurels and takes the task of exploring an assortment of instrumental combinations. They take marimbas, theremin, trombones, and human vocals and treat them like particles in an atom smasher. Combinations that one would never think would work are reborn as musical chimeras, and one can’t help but snap one’s fingers and enjoy every song in the album.

“Nevereverdid” opens like a funerary song with hints of Ennio Morricone due to its use of vocals as instrumentation; but the band undercuts expectations halfway into the song by morphing into a flamboyant dance track. Then there are songs like “Wishbone” and ”The Cemetery” when one wonders if the band, during the recording, didn’t have a competition to see how many instruments and vocal registers each of them could play in one song before passing out in exhaustion. And finally, “Need To Shout” and “Rendezvous: Potrero Hill” is pure Martin Denny, evoking the constructed exoticism of a tiki bar without having to leave the room to enjoy it.

In Case We Die is an album overflowing with ideas. And Architecture In Helsinki have yet to surpass this sophomore effort with any of their follow-up albums.

– Rex Baylon

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