Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Band Alert -Architecture in Helsinki, by Lezah
I have this friend from the photocopy room, a very hip young guy who recommended the band 'Architecture in Helsinki' to me. So I finally looked them up, and waddaya know - they just were here in Vancouver Tuesday night at the Media Club, and I was at home sick with the flu! What terribly bad timing!
Anyway, 'Architecture in Helsinki' is currently on tour in North America now until the end of June in support of their latest album, ' In Case We Die' (on Bar-None). Dr. Dog and Head of Femur open for them.
And who are Architecture in Helsinki? Well, here's a list of interesting factoids:
1. they are from Australia (based in Melbourne)
2. they are an eight person ensemble, although for this latest album (their second), over 40 musicians contributed to the recording
3. they started out in high school as a teen funk/grunge band, added folk influences, and when frontman Cameron Bird spent time in the Pacific Northwest they further added a pop atmospheric sound, which has since morphed into their current 'Fickle Revolution' sound characterized by short, sharp, and catchy pop songs that borrow freely from other eras, employing a mix of styles and sounds
4. they list as their influences Os Mutantes, the Free Design (relatives of my husband, by the way!), '80s music, Marianne Faithful, and Brokeback, to name but a few
5. their live shows are energy extravaganzas, complete with instrument switching and mic-swapping (Bird has led audience members in workout sessions while riding an exercise bike on stage in previous shows); most of their songs are original, although they do the odd cover, too (Randy Newman and Roxy Music)
6. comparisons to bands like Fiery Furnace and The Arcade Fire are not uncommon.
Pitchforkmedia.com gave their album 'In Case We Die' a rating of 8.8 and described the band as complex and ambitious. Other adjectives that have been used to describe them are: experimental, spontaneous, shimmery, comic, arche, baroque, and dynamic. Their whimsy and the twists in their songs are frequently commented on, as is their referencing of other musical styles, sounds, and incarnations of pop music.
Their website describes the band as a "perfect line-up, an amalgamation of well-schooled and self taught, loose and tight, happy and sad, city kids and country folk. A group of people with influences and tastes spanning the last 183 years of pop music, coupled with the isolation of Australia."
So, definitely worth a listen, and if you can catch them live, do.