Record Club: Architecture In Helsinki – Moment Bends

Architecture In Helsinki
Moment Bends
[Out April 8, 2011.]

Architecture In Helsinki occupy a space in the Australian music scene which appears to have opened up just for them. Moment Bends may be their first outing as a signed band but that doesn’t mean the weird-o-meter has gone down a single notch. Whether it’s the pulsing disco beats that could soundtrack a million Mardi Gras parades, breathy pop vocals that burrow inside your brain or the sheer number of instruments that befuddle and tantalize eardrums, this Melbourne collective know what they’re doing and now they’re doing it more consistently than ever before. There is remarkably little filler on this album; it’s packed with authentic party jams from the get-go and it doesn’t let up for even a minute. There’s cheeky nods to both vintage American house and classic funk; a pumping bass line there, a glorious horn stab there, all the while embracing every possible machine the guys can get their hands on. This combination of old and new used to be a bit jarring, but thanks to visionary producer Francois Tetaz and some much-needed downtime, it’s never sounded more exciting.

Sure, it’s camp. You could imagine Kylie belting out one of these tunes, not to mention a former Spice Girl or two. But what that means is that Architecture In Helsinki are crafting dancefloor slayers of the highest order. ‘Yr To Go’ could be Side B to ‘It’s Raining Men’, while the interplay of male and female voices on ‘W.O.W’ is really quite stunning. Forget Gaga’s Little Monsters, if you want to see what real freaks and geeks can get up to it’s all there on ‘That Beep’, sounding as awesome as it did as a single in 2008. The core of this music is a format which has been exhausted in recent years by a slew of desperate revivalists, where only a few, like Scissor Sisters, have made it out alive. Architecture In Helsinki have now entered that realm but in a totally parallel universe. Only there can a song as bizarrely wonderful as ‘Contact High’ work, not to mention the Phil Collins-esque power pop of ‘Sleep Talkin’ or the fist-pumping glory of ‘I Know Deep Down’. You’ll feel embarrassed for liking this for about 30 seconds, before that dissolves into unabated glee.

I haven’t had this much consistent fun since Savage Garden. Bring it on.

Rating: 8.5/10.