Fingers Crossed

Architecture in Helsinki

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Fingers Crossed Review

by Heather Phares

Architecture in Helsinki's debut, Fingers Crossed, introduces their very appealing collage of electronic and indie pop. While there are a lot of groups out there mixing these styles, this Australian octet's music stands out, and not just because they use tap dancing as an instrument. Even though the band uses a wide array of sounds, ranging from bass recorder to a host of analog synths and samplers, Architecture in Helsinki have an admirably restrained hand with their sonic arsenal. Most of the album trades in charming pop miniatures like "Souvenirs," "Imaginary Ordinary," and "To and Fro," all of which are so quietly breezy that it would be easy to tune them out on the first few listens. That would be a mistake, however, as there is a lot to explore within the group's songs: "Scissor Paper Rock" sounds like a Burt Bacharach song from the future; "Spring 2008" has bouncy, almost Japanese-sounding percussion and a melody to match, along with a song title that's far enough away to still seem futuristic. Fingers Crossed's most striking song is "Owls Go," which makes the most of the band's playful minimalism and production wizardry. The track zips between lots of musical elements -- including samples, choral vocals, and children singing -- like a game of sonic Ping-Pong. "Kindling" is another standout that, with its big brassy choruses, is the closest the group comes to rocking out. "Like a Call" manages to be one of the album's quietest and catchiest songs at the same time, and "Vanishing" ends the album with one of its loveliest and most expansive songs. While it's not a perfect album -- occasionally the whispery vocals become cutesy instead of cute -- Fingers Crossed is a charming debut that should please anyone who likes creative indie pop.

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