Architecture in Helsinki- Places Like This

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Australia’s Architecture in Helsinki has always been a band met with divided opinions since their formation in 2003. Mixing twee pop, indie pop, and a few other musical styles into crazy compositions has always been this band’s forte, and they continue on their third release Places Like This. But like many established groups, one could say that Architecture in Helsinki seems to be playing it safe, having created a release not far from their previous material.

It may seem strange to be saying that a band as strange as Architecture in Helsinki is playing it safe, but this is just to say that Places Like This fits in with the existing style the band has been working with. As usual, the melding of so many styles at once often gives the music a feeling of being on the verge of collapse, but the group always manages to pull everything together quite nicely. However, as a whole Places Like This lacks some of the truly catchy hooks that made the band’s previous albums so memorable, even if on an individual basis some of these songs are still well put together.

What this group can still offer in spades is an extremely large variety of vocal styles. You’ve got normal melodic singing, high pitched male singing that will give listeners a mental picture of a drag queen belting out these tunes, and high pitched female singing. Though some listeners will be turned off by the bizarreness of this mix, quite a few will likely be drawn in by how well everything fits together.

Places Like This is a competent album, and will be appealing to both fans and newcomers interested in Architecture in Helsinki. However, neither category of listener is likely to regard this album as the band’s best work, due to the fact that it fits with the established formula and doesn’t have as catchy hooks. This is a solid addition to the band’s discography, but some will still find it to just be more of the same.

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