Web Exclusive! Review of the Day ? Architecture In Helsinki: Places Like This

Architecture In Helsinki

Places Like This
Polyvinyl
Grade: ****

All primary colors, spinning hypnotically like a “Romper Room” lollipop, Places Like This is a joyous, electro-pop finger painting that has no rhyme or reason. Then again, neither did childhood, and that was a lot of fun, wasn’t it?

On this, the musical collective’s third album, Architecture In Helsinki lose themselves in a world of excited tropicalia, manic percussion and white-boy funk ? read Talking Heads ? that takes sharp, post-punk angles.

The product of arrested adolescence and a lively imagination, Places Like This is an unexpected about-face from its last album, 2005’s In Case We Die.

It dives into turquoise seas of island rhythms and swirling synthesizers in the steel-drum attack of “Heart It Races” and the headphone swim of “Underwater.” “Hold Music” is a spastic body-shock that hits you like some wonderful seizure, while “Like It Or Not” is an infectious conga line of sunny horns, acoustic strum and calypso beats.

Exploding out of the speakers in a kaleidoscope of wild, free-flowing instrumentation, Places Like This is a school playground at lunch time, or better yet, the last day of school. And yet, it’s clearly the work of adults tearing off their ties and pantyhose and running pell mell for the beach. Mingling congas, exotic bass lines, Two-Tone trombone, whacked-out samples, and other assorted weapons of mass musical orgy together in a sound that defies description.

Architecture In Helsinki ought to replace Jimmy Buffet in the jukeboxes of Tiki bars, but unfortunately, “Margaritaville” will always win out.

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