Review: NOW + 4EVA – Architecture in Helsinki

Architecture in Helsinki pops back onto the indie scene with the release of their latest album, writes Owen Harvey.

Album cover for Architecture in Helsinki's new album NOW+4EVA featuring a multicoloured, folded record

It’s hard to avoid the obvious when describing Architecture in Helsinki (AIH) – they’re a fun band. You can’t escape their infectious, sugary beats and you’re more than likely to end up dancing, or, at the very least, goofily bopping your head along.

The indie pop quintet are back with their fifth album, NOW + 4EVA, very much retaining that almost-sickeningly sweet and inventive sound they are well known for. Released in a variety of formats, including CD, download, vinyl, USB and the super limited cassette version for true hipsters, the band offers a tight 37 minute set of 11 songs.

Immediately noticeable is how the band mixes up the potentially mild indie pop sound with rich and intricate musical backing.

AIH’s unashamed twee popness extends beyond their music to their chic fashion sense and the colourful bubblegum artwork that complements the album, its singles and music videos. With no less than three abbreviated song titles, AIH obviously have no time for you to poop on their party.

Immediately noticeable is how the band mixes up the potentially mild indie pop sound with rich and intricate musical backing. Harmonious vocals, polyrhythmic percussion and sweeping synthesizers really make you feel like you’re ‘In the Future’.

The tackiness of the 80s is also pervasive.

But, as well as looking towards modern noises, AIH constantly pay tribute to their influences. Before Tomorrow has a definite Motown feel, while When You Walk in the Room is an updated cover of a 60s track. The tackiness of the 80s is also pervasive, most noticeably on the auto-tuned slow ballad of the album, April.

Working with acclaimed producer François Tétaz, famous for his work with Gotye and Kimbra, the band have been recording NOW + 4EVA since February 2012, and their effort is noticeable. My personal standouts on the album include disco track I Might Survive, the multi-layered Boom (4EVA) and the groovy U Tell Me.

Ultimately, the chances of you enjoying this album depends on whether you like cheesy, joyful, catchy electro tunes that you can be silly with. It’s not a ground-breaking album, but that’s fine by me.

Pop is not a dirty word, and if your friends don’t dance, well, they’re no friends of mine.

Catch Architecture in Helsinki at the Groovin the Moo Festival in Maitland on Saturday, April 26.