Architecture in Helsinki - Like It or Not (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Architecture in Helsinki

Like It or Not (2008)


Before they hunker down to write a new record, Australian sextet Architecture in Helsinki are riding one more wave from Places Like This, their excellent Polyvinyl debut from last August. The label has obviously been excited to have the group, working with them to wedge their music further into the indie world's consciousness with videos, worldwide touring and the release of singles and single-based EPs.

Like It Or Not should have been the first single as it bridges between their organic and giddy In Case We Die style and the more sexy electronic dance jams that dominate Places. Here we get "Version 2" of the song, which has noticeable yet small differences in the shorter intro and a different stripped down middle building to an even more rowdy "Go! Go! Go!" section. But it's pretty damn similar.

AIH love to be remixed, and here Pitchfork obsession El Guincho handles the single and on paper it's a perfect fit. While I'm not super familiar with the Barcelona-based sample-loving artist, both are clearly influenced by world music, especially Caribbean and Latin beats and instruments. That said, he puts such a different spin on the tune that it's an archeological dig for the source material and that's what makes it fun. Grounded by some sort of cha-cha-meets-reggaeton groove with a saxophone loop, he drops in minimal vocal bits and does some funny isolation of Cameron Bird's wails. My favorite Places song "Hold Music" is remixed by British musician Max Tundra (who is no stranger to the band, already having remixed "The Owls Go" from their debut), and this was previously available on the UK 7". Somehow it makes the original even more jerky with super-staccato synth attacks while the vocals are mostly left alone. Oddly enough the music smoothes out as Bird goes berserk on the bridge vocals. It's an enjoyable listen but it wouldn't be the reason to pop this on.

The main reason this EP might be a worthwhile purchase for AIH junkies would be the two new tracks, recorded just months previous to this release. An obscure cover of some band called IQ, "Beef in Box" starts a bit topsy-turvy but soon settles into a speedy funk groove akin to The Time with Kellie Sutherland's sassy speak-singing on the verses. "One Heavy February" is another dancey tune that quickly proves why it's a live favorite, though the month-shouting Satan-led march part is a bit strange. While both tracks are good, they are more repetitive dance tracks by design and less idea-packed than most of the songs on Places.

It will still be awhile before a new album drops, so if need something to hold you over this EP should do the trick. It's hardly essential though.