Architecture in Helsinki CD reviewed by Amanda Nichols
Dec 4, 2007, 12:59
ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI Places Like ThisÂ CD
Good god, this is wretched.Â The first thought that entered my head when I put this record on was Dee Dee King, Dee Dee Ramone's rap persona/record/abortion and his “I'm fah-fah-fah-fah-fah-fah-fah-fah funkay!” refrain.Â Architecture In Helsinki seems intent on celebrating some of the worst byproducts of 1980's new wave; awkward poly-rhythms, Waitresses-eque female backing vocals, stupid synth lines (just to have a synth line) and songs about nothing in particular.Â All stuff that's been rehashed better recently so it begs the question, do we really need this?Â Or, are the street drugs really this bad?
Architecture In Helsinki obviously love Duran Duran, New Order, Suicide and the Pet Shop Boys, but just can't capture any of the elements that made any of those groups stand out.Â They're also pretty inspired by the Scissor Sisters; and when I say “inspired,” I mean “veering very close to copyright violation.”Â For yucks, I put on “Filthy/Gorgeous” by the Scissor Sisters and then “Feather in a Baseball Cap” from this disc and I realize, some one owes Anna Matronic some money!Â
By “Underwater,” the 5th track, you've already heard them use faux Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing vocals multiple times. While it's an improvement over the shrieking Waitresses-like wreck on “Red Turned White,” it's all cloying at best, downright baying at worst. “Like it or Not” sounds like Tiny Tim's vocals have been transposed onto a Buster Poindexter record (and that's not a compliment).Â Then, they attempt Eastern European polka/Disco Polo drum lines and they just can't keep up with each other. Please guys—leave that to Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box and Firewater, who have members formerly of Eastern Europe—This just sounds like you've tossed your drummer down a flight of stairs and clapped while he broke a lot of bones.Â
Apparently the drummer didn't revive in time for “Debbie,” which begins with a skronking, screeching synth and drum machine bleats and continues on with a really, really awful Fab Five Freddie/Alan VegaÂ impression. The thing is, the aforementioned Scissor Sisters did the same material exactly right. Bis did too, on their 1999 record Social Dancing. So what's the difference?Â Bis and the Scissor Sisters were birthed by the scenes—and consequently, the music—that they adored.Â Architecture In Helsinki are fairly obviously birthed from boredom, and reek of its played-out laziness. When the kids have moved on from mom's collection of downers, they'll realize that they've wasted their money on this record. Use your time and money wisely and track down a Shazza record instead. [Polyvinyl Record Co.]
-Amanda Nichols Buy it now at AMAZON