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In Case We Die

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Album Review

On their debut album, Fingers Crossed, Architecture in Helsinki felt like they were just getting their bearings. This gave the album, and the Australian indie pop collective's mix of symphonic and electronic pop, a tentative, first-steps kind of charm. However, after a spending a year on the road tightening up their live act, and a little while longer in their wonderfully named Super Melody World studio recording their second album, In Case We Die, the group sounds much more assured. Everything on In Case We Die, from the intensely sweet melodies and vocals to the widescreen production, delivers the kind of playful pop majesty that Fingers Crossed's best moments hinted were within Architecture in Helsinki's grasp. "More assured" doesn't mean "less creative" though; this is a second album that really does expand on the sounds and ideas of the debut instead of just rehashing them. Indeed, Fingers Crossed's standout pocket symphony, "The Owls Go," feels like a template for In Case We Die's lush, playful, multifaceted sound. Most of the songs have lots of parts and changes to them, such as the opener, "Neverevereverdid," which begins with a spooky, operatic fanfare, then becomes delicately rambling folk-pop, and finally morphs into speedy, shouty Krautrock. Despite the ambition of songs like this and the suite-like "In Case We Die, Pts. 1-4," the album never feels ponderous; in fact, it's often even cuter than Fingers Crossed was. "It'5!" and "Cemetery" are adorable without being saccharine, and touches like the power-drill solo on "Frenchy, I'm Faking" and jungle sound effects on "Need to Shout" ensure that the album's more polished sound never feels slick or stuffy. Even In Case We Die's most straightforward moment, the single "Do the Whirlwind" — which is so sleekly synthy that it could almost pass for straight-up dance-pop — shares at least some of the quirky warmth of more homespun-sounding songs like "Tiny Paintings." An album with this much vibrant, irresistible, Technicolor music to its name could have only come from a place called Super Melody World. Not only is it a delight to hear Architecture in Helsinki come into their own on In Case We Die, but the fact that it comes so soon after their debut makes it all the sweeter.


Formed: 2000 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Australian indie pop ensemble Architecture in Helsinki hail from Fitzroy, Melbourne, and have counted multi-instrumentalists Cameron Bird, James Cecil, Gus Franklin, Isobel Knowles, Jamie Mildren, Sam Perry, Tara Shackell, and Kellie Sutherland among their ranks. The band's musical arsenal is even bigger than its roster, featuring instruments as diverse as analog synths and samplers, glockenspiel, tuba, clarinet, and recorder along with the more predictable drums, bass, and guitar. Architecture...
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In Case We Die, Architecture In Helsinki
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