Architechture In Helsinki
I haven't heard and enjoyed an album this gloriously twee in quite some time now. With a name like Architechture In Helsinki, it might be assumed to be a post rock band of some sort, or even some sort of austere electronic group, but Fingers Crossed is a fleet-footed little 14-track album that mainly hits in all the right spots. There's a whole lot of handclapping, but sometimes you've just got to give into this sort of thing.
Your twee tolerance level will be given a run for the money with the very first track of "One Heavy February." Despite the weighty title, the track is all buzzy lo-fi synths and warm bass grooves (and yes, handclaps). It's all over in one minute, then the group is on to what they do best, male/female vocal tracks with catchy melodies and subtlely-mixed instrumentation. "Souvenirs" is the first of many real gems on the disc as guitar and bass wrap around more lo-fi synths and horns and the whole thing is punctuated with rapid bursts of snares. "Imaginary Ordinary" takes a slightly more electronic route, and it doesn't hold up quite as well (also partially atributed to the main male singer of the group being less persuasive than the female one).
The group is at their best when they keep the tempo on the slightly faster side. "The Owls Go" is all electronic drums and synth horns and breathy vocals from about 3 different members while little surprises pop up here and there. Elsewhere, "Kindling" adds just a bit more beef to the guitars and rhythm section and makes me wish they'd thicken up a few more tracks the same way, as the track has a punch and pull that helps it stick out.
Heck, I'm not too jaded to admit that I still enjoy the heck out of an album like this once in awhile. It's about as sweet as they come, but the group hasn't forgotten that a rough charm goes a long way as well. While the production is polished and the release sounds great, nothing is overpolished and the best tracks remind you of something that you might have hummed along with on a soundtrack to an 80s movie (again, in a good way).