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Architecture in Helsinki, ‘Places Like This’ (Polyvinyl)

Architecture in Helsinki’s fanciful pop patchwork has always been rooted in the playground, but their third album takes a giant step in a new direction. The Melbourne-based sextet mostly supplants their call-and-response giddiness with the hyper, guttural chanting of leader Cameron Bird (who conceived the songs while living apart from the group in a raucous Latino neighborhood in Brooklyn). And though Bird’s voice can be unnerving — like Pee-wee Herman gargling rocks — the band offer their richest, most eclectic accompaniment yet, with vibrant steel drums (“Heart It Races”), syncopated acoustic strings (“Lazy [Lazy]”), and resonant trumpet bleats (“Debbie”).

Now Hear This: Architecture in Helsinki – “Heart It Races” DOWNLOAD MP3