Architecture in Helsinki
Monday, June 6
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This is my jam.
Architecture in Helsinki Monday, June 6
Monday, June 6
If anyone doubted the pop ambitions of Architecture in Helsinki's glossy new Lindsey Buckingham-inspired album Moment Bends, they might have been convinced by the band's synchronized dance moves last night. Said moves were busted out by the fourth song, the early Moment Bends single "That Beep," a fine bit of Annie-flavored electro bubblegum, which is also maybe the album's most blatantly pop song.
And if anyone--this reviewer, say--wasn't entirely won over by the new record, last night's performance might've gone a long way toward swaying them: The band members were energetic and looked just genuinely happy to be playing, the (mostly new) songs were tight, and the crowd was one of the liveliest I've seen in Seattle in a long while--not just for a Monday or just for an indie-pop band, but full stop.
The band walked out to some Enya-ish ambient tones, all wearing what looked like coordinated apparel (I recall reading somewhere that keyboardist/vocalist Kellie Sutherland is also a fashion designer, and I could imagine her arranging the band's color schemes and such). They started with a run of strong, upbeat songs from the new album--the ska lope of "Desert Island" leading into three electro-poppy Sutherland-led numbers, "Hold Music," Denial Style," and "That Beep." They paused for a bit of banter in which they confused Richard Simmons with Russell Simmons with Russell Crowe, trying to recall which one's videos they'd been watching in the tour bus (it was Richard's).
They played "Like It or Not" almost a cappella, all singing with only a little bass and guitar strum and shaker percussion underneath, always teasing to break into a growl (as the song does on record) but never going for it. It was a pretty great move. They sped up a couple songs, "Yr Go To" and encore closer "Contact High." They played a cover of '80s one-hit "I've Been Thinking About You" (you're lying if you know who did the original without Googling it). They did a few of my favorite old jams: capping the twee tumble of "Wishbone" with an extended Top Gun guitar-solo outro, starting sing-along "Do the Whirlwind" with an odd alternate melody, and adding a little scat break and call-and-response to "Hear It Races," which the band performed with four of their six on just vocals, all up front on the mikes.
It was just a fantastic show, the sort of thing that had me goofily tweeting about how adorable they are and how I take back any and all foot-dragging. And I do--more or less. I'm still not sold on a few songs off the new album, but trim those and it's basically another great batch for the imaginary AiH greatest hits in my head/iCloud. (I wonder if there's a certain type of band that just consistently releases "grower" albums--ones that you might discount at first but which then burrow under your skin--and what might make certain bands like that? I feel like their new one is the second album in a row from Architecture in Helsinki that, apart from a few standout singles, I've grown to like only gradually. N.B.: I still think I rated the album right both here and elsewhere, it's just that's it's also grown on me, if that makes any sense.) Anyway, love these guys and gal--and I'm pretty sure I heard them say something about being back in the fall.
Set list: (did they play "Out of Focus" and I missed it here?)
1. "Desert Island"
2. "Hold Music"
3. "Denial Style"
4. "That Beep"
5. "Like It or Not"
6. "Yr Go To"
7. "Maybe You Can Own Me"
11. "I Know Deep Down"
13. "Everything's Blue"
14. "Do the Whirlwind"
15. "Heart It Races"
17. "I've Been Thinking About You" (London Beat cover)
18. "Contact High"