Architecture In Helsinki, Moment Bends

Laura Leebove

By Laura Leebove

Managing Editor
on 04.20.11 in Reviews

On their 2003 debut Fingers Crossed, the Aussies of Architecture in Helsinki introduced themselves as a twee indiepop group with a foundation of glockenspiels and synths, horns and winds, fronted by wispy vocalists Cameron Bird and Kellie Sutherland, who sing lines like "Imaginary, ordinary, it's you that I belong with." Many of their early songs were pleasant, meek and unobtrusive — pithy but polite instrumental interludes best fit for an indie-film soundtrack, perhaps even played on toy instruments. With every album they've grown a bit more muscle, most notably with 2007's Places Like This, where tropical percussion was at the forefront. On their fourth LP Moment Bends, the band members are at their most powerful — singing at the top of their lungs and practically begging you to get on the dance floor.

Finally singing at the top of their lungs

Opener "Escapee" starts with a repeated piano pattern and builds gradually, adding percussive synths, clean reverbed guitar and, finally, meaty synths — no glockenspiel, flutes or clarinets to be found. Centerpiece "That Beep" is a blast, while disco-leaning jams "Everything's Blue" and "I Know Deep Down" channel the likes of Passion Pit or Hercules & Love Affair. Euphoric standout "Contact High" finds Bird singing in a falsetto over bottom-heavy synths: "Lost in the ether with no one to blame/ It's silent down here, and I wanna get loud again."

Some of the lyrics are still precious — in the sugary "W.O.W." (an acronym for Walking On Water), Sutherland sings, "Put the clock in my head back to the time in your bed, you were my original" — but for once she's not singing in a whisper; the same goes for Bird. Meek is no longer a word in this band's vocabulary — and it's about damn time.