Album Review: Architecture in Helsinki – Like it or Not [EP]


EP’s are a funny thing. They often serve as a bridge to the next album or an introduction to the next single, while at the same time allowing the artist to release b-sides, remixes, or just straight out new material. For Australia’s Architecture in Helsinki, it’s a way to continue the 70’s/80’s laden weirdness that they do so well. Like it or Not is a great extension to the multi-instrumentalists that are Cameron Bird, Gus Franklin, Jamie Mildren, Sam Perry, and Kellie Sutherland.

Named for the next single from their fourth full length, 2007’s Places Like This, the Like it or Not EP is a collection of retakes and remixes centered around the title track. There is also the introduction of long time, live only favorites that have not been released until now. Starting with a more polished “Like It Or Not (Version 2)”, the latest take on the track gives it a sloppy psychedelic Flaming Lips appeal with its shortened introduction that goes right into an acoustic guitar driven “wa wa” chant with a much larger sounding verse and chorus through out. The updated incarnation also amps up the horn section, adding cutting escalating vocal effects right before the break down.

Next up come two songs that have long been played live by this five piece, and are now recorded for mass consumption. “Beef In A Box” throws around some serious disco flavor with knob fiddling weirdness. Bird, Franklin, Mildred, Perry, and Sutherland take turns chanting, “you don’t stop till the beef’s in the box”. Guitars take the job of holding down the funk only to break for that lyric, perfect for crowd interaction, or your next indie dance party. “One Heavy (February 2008)” opens like something out of the synth new wave scene, and with a rise in volume, claps bring up another electronic throw back to the era of tight jeans and chest hair. They keep things interesting by switching up the song into a quick break beat, then closing out where they began.

The last two tracks are both remixes and offer again more fun and out of the box versions of songs from Places Like This. England’s own Max Tundra remixed “Hold Music”, and it mostly resembles the B-52’s flavored original. The opening guitar riffs have been chopped into and electro beat spilling out how the rest of the song will sound, polished and cheesy. “Like It Or Not” brings an odd close to the EP with a remix by El Guincho. With out seeing the title you would not be able to tell what it is you are listening to. The song sounds nothing like what it is a remix of. It comes across as a tripped out Thievery Corporation tune instead. The lyrics are chopped up and left almost inaudible, serving more as a beat. It is the jungle acid fueled pipe dream of Guincho.

Architecture in Helsinki remains to be quirky, funky, and weird yet again. There is nothing new here, so fans should enjoy themselves quite nicely.

Check Out:
“Beef In Box” (via)

Like it or Not EP is now available via Polyvinyl Records