CD Review: Architecture in Helsinki - Moment Bends

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It's been four years since we've last had an album from the hand-clapping Aussie quintent Architecture in Helsinki. Alas, it seems the years away haven't aged them well. When the band debuted with Fingers Crossed in 2003, they were vivacious, bubbly and numerous. But now that three of the band's original line-up have departed, it seems those members have taken the creative energy with them. Once infectious and playful, the band's latest release, Moment Bends, never manages to be anything but disappointingly dull.

Unlike the band's previous hits "Heart it Races" and "the Owls Go" that exuded an organic charm, the tracks on Moment Bends surface as overly-polished and synthesized. Though songs like "Desert Island" and "Everything's Blue" begin with vibrant pop potential, the auto-tuned vocals and monotonous melodies sound like nothing more than a haphazard melding of Alphaville's "Forever Young" and the Caribbean beats of fellow countrymen Men At Work. It's a derivative mess of '80s homages that rarely captures the exuberance of those aforementioned influences.

The only saving grace to the album's otherwise aimless pursuits is the track "That Beep." Sandwiched in the middle of the record, its pulsating beats and quirky vocals provide a refreshing punch of pop in an otherwise lackluster work. But "That Beep" was released as a single EP in 2008, making the rest of the album a sorely discouraging follow-up. While songs like "Contact High" and "Denial Style" attempt to re-capture the lively spirit of "That Beep," their production is too neat, maybe even sterile, to achieve the kind of spontaneous zest Architecture in Helsinki used to be. Like these songs, Moment Bends remains a lifeless shell of what the band used to be.






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