By: Forrest Reda
Architecture In Helsinki's Places Like This is a delightful romp through early '80s pop, organically reinterpreted with folk instruments, synthesizers and Australian sensibilities. Short and sweet, manic and delightful, loud and bright, Places is
the type of album that requires headphones to completely absorb.
Some moments on recall Ween and snippets of Blondie, LCD Soundsystem, The Arcade Fire, Scissor Sisters, The B-52s, Bowie and the Talking Heads make cameos. The lyrics run the gamut of quirkiness, from saccharin spurts of violent imagery used to describe social anxiety in "Nothing's Wrong" to tightly packaged tales of the usual relationship drama, like "My mom thinks she's in love with you but I'm not" from "Like It Or Not."
Led by Cameron Bird, this Australian musical collective is wildly eclectic and bounces through genres like kids in a sprinkler. Multiple instruments, voices and effects are used to forge music that is ethereal and vibrant. There is an element of magic and freedom within the songs. If you could see what the music looked like, it would be a neon-lit club with a smoke machine filling the room with mist while strobe lights and lasers cut through the air, bodies gyrating to the alien sounds pouring out of the speakers in a secret language that the pill-popping kids are on the verge of
understanding...but then the song ends and the next mystery begins.
Listeners familiar with the Dr. Dog version of "Heart It Races" will need a few listens to appreciate this music. Much like when Phish started covering Ween's "Roses Are Free," Dr. Dog has taken Architecture in Helsinki's wonderful, avant-garde song and converted it into a rock and roll, sing-a-long anthem.
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