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.
// Notes from the Road
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