Day 114: Architecture in Helsinki – Places Like This

22 Jun

Heart it Races

I think about and analyze music through comparisons.  I live and breathe similes, if you haven’t noticed.  I need to compare what I’m hearing to something I’m familiar with; it’s just how I evaluate music, and everything else for that matter.  So sometimes, I may make a comparison that seems a little out of whack, a little unCONventional—it’s just an analytical tactic of mine.

 There, now that I’ve taken a nice chunk out of this post’s word count, I’m going to make a kind of strange comparison.

Architecture in Helsinki is a lot like Matt & Kim.

Maybe that hyperactive duo is on my mind because I just sold a ticket to one of their shows on Craig’s List (The Thermals are playing the same day, can you blame me?)  But I heard so much Matt & Kim in Places Like This, which was not at all what I was expecting.

Architecture in Helsinki is a band that got together in 2000, about five years before Kim and Matt even released an EP.  They’re also from Melbourne, Australia,  which is a pretty long way from Grand Street in Brooklyn, the energetic duo’s beloved stomping grounds.  Architecture is typically classified as indie pop, but more in the vein of the Los Campesinos! variety, i.e. goofy lyrics and general over-the-top-ness, compared to MK’s fast-paced amateurish happiness.

I couldn’t help but think a lot of Matt & Kim throughout Places, though, and I think I know why.  Both bands attempt to do a lot with a little.

While the members of Architecture do try and hide it, they do have a fairly minimalist, get-the-job-done-quickly approach to making music.  They rely on as little time and instrumentation as is effectively possible.  Even with five members, Architecture rarely has too much going on.  The beats are simple, the synths calm and the guitars unobtrusive.  Matt & Kim do this because they have to—they’re two people with limited musical knowledge—it just feels a lot more deliberate with Architecture.

I did enjoy Places Like These, though.  I’m used to listening to indie pop bands that go all out and all over the place.  It’s nice to hear something that’s comparatively calm, and arguably just as captivating.


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