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Architecture in Helsinki

That Beep EP

(Polyvinyl; US: 17 Feb 2009; UK: 17 Feb 2009)

Although the band is perhaps the biggest purveyor of indie-pop fun, let’s be serious for a moment. Was Australia’s Architecture in Helsinki ever not pop-oriented? Sure, the group’s first two albums didn’t fully wear pop on their sleeves. But the influence was always lingering. That’s why it’s difficult to fully understand some of the outrage expressed over last year’s fun-as-hell, bubblegum-happy Places Like This. While it wasn’t without its flaws and deserved plenty of criticism, the hate wasn’t entirely necessary, some of which I dished out. Perhaps the true outrage isn’t over the pop, but that the group sometimes just sounds like a B-52s coverband, corny male vocals and all. Those comparisons won’t fade as a result of That Beep EP, a brief EP featuring underwhelming remixes proving proves that Architecture In Helsinki is still trying to find its niche. The original “That Beep” is a light-hearted pop full of the band’s penchant for injecting various instruments into the mix. Though mostly driven by a synth lead and echoing drums, there are moments for guitars, bass, and ‘80s keyboards, too. And except for some back-up vocals, Kellie Sutherland handles the cutesy pop intonations.


Radioclit remixes the track twice, taking it to France with vocalist Marina and then Sweden. Neither is particularly impressive, though at least more is done with the Swedish version, which turns the track into a glowstick rave party. But wouldn’t that make more sense for the French remix? Haima’s remix throws in some more pianos and synthesizers to “That Beep”, which it both brighter and even somewhat somber at times. The ending makes Haima’s remix especially charming with crisp drums and bouncing new wave synths all around. But none of them takes “That Beep” into bizarre territory like Kasper Vandergraff’s mix, which is built on its booming bass and handclaps. In the end, this entire EP isn’t exactly noteworthy and only made for those hardcore Architecture in Helsinki fans.

Rating:

Weekly newspaper reporter by day, music reviewer by night (OK, and by day, too). When he's not writing for PopMatters, Andrew spends most of his time at online magazine Prefix and hip-hop site Potholes In My Blog.


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That Beep
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20 Apr 2014
Lacking their usual frenetic pace and diverse instrumentation, Architecture in Helsinki put out something surprisingly boring
28 Aug 2011
On the other hand, they seem obsessed with escape -- with vacations, with dreams, with visions of UFOS. Often the lyrics are not as happy as the music sounds.
31 Jul 2008
Mostly a testament to Architecture in Helsinki’s newfound love affair with the ‘80s.
9 Aug 2007
The Aussie indie-poppers are back -- and this time they want to make you dance.
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