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In Short: Architecture In Helsinki ‘Moment Bends’

I’ve always been a bit dismissive of Architecture In Helsinki, labeling them as twee pop with no redeeming features. And after listening to their latest album, ‘Moment Bends’, I can say that I was right on the first count, but wrong on the second.

From the first beats of opener Desert Island, it’s clear that the record is going to be full of loud, high-pitched whispers and ample use of synth. It passes in an inoffensive but unmemorable blur, and before you know it you’re onto the second track of the album, the fucking awesome Escapee.

Sure this song is still absurdly simplistic, but damn if it isn’t one of the funnest songs I’ve heard this year. It just makes me want to jump up and dance, no matter what I’m doing. It is a caricature of Architecture In Helsinki’s music, but then all the songs of ‘Moment Bends’ kind of are. They’re all exaggerated and kind of annoying, but Escapee just does it so well. It’s a fantastic track.

Unfortunately it’s also easily as good as the album gets. First single Contact High is pretty cool I suppose, vibrating with energy encapsulated in a shell so perfectly polished that it shines. For at the same time as ‘Moment Bends’ is overly twee and sickly sweet, it’s also brash, unsubtle, and in your face.

For want of a better metaphor, it’s like vomiting rainbows.

The songwriting on display here is inconsistent at best, and downright mediocre at worst. There’s little complexity in arrangements, instrumentation, and above all else, lyrics. This reaches a low point with the truly abhorrent Sleep Talkin’: “When I talk in my sleep, I’ll be begging for more. That’s meant to sound sweet, babe you’re meant to reward me for working hard on my pleasantries, so when you’ve lock your door you’ll want to cut me a key”. Shudder.

The album ends fairly strongly with the furious That Beep and the more atmospheric B4 3D, which at least demonstrates that the band is capable of trying something a bit different. If you can stomach the sickly sweetness of this album, then there’ll be a lot here for you, and radio is going to eat this up. It’s not a bad album, it’s just far from inspiring or memorable, with the one notable exception of Escapee.

So yeah, I really don’t want to like this album. By all rights I shouldn’t like this album. But I kind of can’t help it.

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