Australian band, Architecture in Helsinki have been around for over a decade now but the band did not really hit it big until the release of their sophomore album, In Case We Die. Released in 2005, the album peaked at number 67 on the Australian charts and drew critical acclaim from Pitchfork, AllMusic, and others. Since that time, their music has continued to chart well in Australia but the band has hit a rough patch critically. 2007’s Places Like This received only a 6.4 from Pitchfork and 2.5/5 from AllMusic. The band hopes to win the critics back with their fourth album, Moment Bends.
Early returns do not look so good for the album. An early Pitchfork review gave the album a 6.5 and listening to the album it is easy to see why. In the early 2000s, twee pop bands like The Boy Least Likely To and Belle and Sebastian were becoming increasingly serious players. But Architecture in Helsinki have almost completely abandoned twee pop and in its place in a 1980s lite pop sound.
Songs like “That Beep” are somewhere between the revival pop of Annie and actual 80s pop like Jermaine Stewart. But “That Beep” actually sounds pretty good, unlike the album’s closer “B4 3D.” The track sounds like a lost Hall and Oates that has been chopped n screwed. The track is incredibly slow and then the vocals have all sort of weird effects on them.
Unfortunately, the majority of songs on Moment Bends sound like “B4 3D.” The bad 80s vibe is prevelent throughout the entire album which makes it a tough listen in some places. While it is not the worst album of the year, critical darlings like Architecture in Helsinki should be releasing better albums than this if they want to continue garnering positive reviews.