Architecture in Helsinki, in a time where odd names seem to fit right in, so does this peppy, happy, upbeat, wonderful record. AIH has got more spunk than any other band around today. Lead singer Cameron Bird takes up most of the vocal duties on this album. His vocals fit somewhere between David Byrne and Isaac Brock. That comparison comes up a lot in my mind, Talking Heads and AIH are very similar in dynamic. AIH created a very fun record on "Places Like This", and you'll be grooving from the first synthed out track all the way to the end.
"Red Turned White" gives you the notion of the album and sets the scene really well. If you haven't already, check out the music video for "Heart It Races", it's pretty trippy. One of the strongest points of this record is that it's always fun, but it doesn't become "Skeletal Lamping" and get too un-serious. You can tell the musicians took their parts very seriously. "Hold Music" is straight groovy. Also, their background (Australia) comes to their advantage; it fits them very well. For example, "Let me tell you about Christmas time when it's hot", a line from "Like it Or Not". "Feather in a Baseball Cap" and "Underwater" take the album down a notch. "Underwater" is ghostly and wonderful, it kind of slides through your headphones. "Like it or Not" brings back the funk (and the weird). Their drummer, James Cecil, plays the trombone. Singing about somebody's mom being in love with you, don't think too much of the lyrics, but that's not a problem; there's plenty to tickle your ear's fancy. "Debbie" is their nightclub dance tune. "Lazy" shines through the odd and strikes beauty. "In the galaxy stars/with nothing in the middle 'cept the planet that we're on and it's playing 2nd fiddle": I love it. "Lazy" starts out quiet, but by the end the sweet guitar lines groove into each other and your feet will be tapping like hell. This song just sounds Australian, if that were to be a genre. "Nothing's Wrong" is another song that strikes gold. It pushes this album back into Talking Heads territory. The last song, "Same Old Innocence", takes it back up and back down, with a pumping tune.
Like I said, every song on this album is dance worthy. Some of the songs are weirder, but some of them (as I mentioned) are very respectable songs. There is a lot to listen to in this album, and I'm sure you'll be listening to it for a long time. Also, see them live if you can, they're incredible. I am excited for their (hopeful) 2009 release, but "Places" is a great place to start for exploring the AIH catalogue. Happy dancing...
Highlights: "Lazy", "Nothing's Wrong".
Listen if you like: Modest Mouse, Talking Heads