Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die

Architecture in Helsinki
In Case We Die

Music is a lot like dating. There is an art to keeping your date entertained and constantly yearning for more yet at the same time knowing when to call it quits before your companion tires of your wit and finds your humor more annoying than charming. Architecture in Helsinki has stumbled upon the secret recipe for keeping someone engaged, on the edge of your seat, and perhaps not mentally or emotionally tired, but some physical exhaustion may occur.

Expanding on the synth-based style of the band’s debut, these guys add in nearly every instrument in existence and some items that you wouldn’t expect, like power tools. Similar to their previous release, they not only try their hand at a multitude of musical genres but take it one step further and mix it up even more throughout the entire album as well as within each song so much that it almost makes you tired after just one song. For fun, try listening to the tracks on a computer and setting the player to blend the beginning and endings of each track as if it was one big run-on album. If you weren’t familiar with the songs, you would think it was a really large number of 30-second tracks, with the exception of a few more straightforward tunes.

From opera-inspired male and female vocal displays to energetic group outbursts, the band expands on the hushed style heard consistently throughout Fingers Crossed. Even male lead singer Cameron Bird is more animated as he dips down low and reaches for the stars, displaying more comfort with his voice and how it fits within the music. Like the instruments played, the band shows a huge vocal range in part due to the versatility of having a large group with multiple vocal talents.

Starting the album off with the sound of a large church bell, opera-style female vocals, horns, and even the sound of what could either be a creaky door or a sticky hand sliding down taut Saran Wrap, “Nevereverdid” instantly gives you a taste of what the album has in store. With 12 tracks, there is not a single repeat, and In Case We Die manages to keep up the energy and stay strong all the way to the finish line. Having seen the octet twice now in a live setting, this is one of few groups I’ve seen manage to turn an indie-rocker crowd into a bunch of dancing fools that throw their hands in the air and shake their entire bodies. By the end of the set, everyone both on and off stage is exhausted and likely five pounds lighter.

After a whopping 4:49 of a multitude of styles and tempo changes with the opener, “It’s 5!” enters the scene with one of the most infectiously catchy tunes I’ve probably ever heard – and in only slightly more than two minutes. It’s almost unfair that it should be over so soon, and few songs will have me reaching for the repeat button more than this one. If this song doesn’t make you want to jump up, dance, and sing along with the group, then I don’t know what will. Following on the energetic trip, “Do the Whirlwind” shows off with its psychedelic keyboards, chimes, and sitar, “Wishbone” incorporates strings and fun with vocals, while album closer “What’s in Store?” opens with an organ and wraps up the album nicely. As a mid-album breather, “Maybe You Can Owe Me” takes the levels down a notch with brushed drums and hushed vocals reminiscent of Fingers Crossed accompanied by keys.

Architecture in Helsinki has certainly mastered the art of speed-dating with the ability to change styles in a matter of seconds and keep a firm grasp on the attention of even the most impatient listeners. It is this fact alone that can make you either dislike the band for not allowing you to hang on to your favorite catchy rhythms for more than a few seconds or fall heads over heels in the few moments you’re allotted.