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Architecture in Helsinki

Like It or Not

(Polyvinyl; US: 8 Jul 2008; UK: Available as import)

Like It or Not builds upon the song of the same name off last summer’s ass-shakin’ Architecture in Helsinki album Places Like This. And just as that record saw the band transform into a B-52’s-infused indie-pop act, this EP features remixes and b-sides aimed to make you hit the dance floor. Like It or Not also follows the Australian quintet’s tradition of releasing EPs and singles galore in support of a full-length. Kicking off the disc is the alternate version of “Like It or Not”. It turns out to be slightly better than the original track, if only because of the lo-fi sound that accentuates the other instruments. Also, thankfully, the slowed-down intro has been shortened considerably. The vocals and much of the instrumentation, however, remain similar, with frontman Cameron Bird still slightly growling as he yelps.


Leftover “Beef in a Box”, dripping with synths and dance-y guitar licks, isn’t stellar, but it’s not horrendous either. And that quality is how you can tell why it was left off the album, though it would make for a killer addition to the band’s live show. Much of the same can be said for “One Heavy February 2008”, a perfect fit for a mid-‘80s workout tape. As for the remixes, Max Tundra’s take on “Hold Music” maintains Bird’s Fred Schneider impression with a techno-ed up musical backdrop. El Guincho turns “Like It or Not” into something completely different with added back-up vocals and a delightful Spanish groove. Although the stuttering of Bird’s singing is slightly grating, it definitely adds another layer. As a whole, this EP isn’t exactly a must-purchase, though die-hard fans might think otherwise. It’s mostly a testament to Architecture in Helsinki’s newfound love affair with the ‘80s, which has produced somewhat above-average results thus far.

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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Architecture in Helsinki - Hold Music (Max Tundra Remix)
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