Originally uploaded by squidpants.
so I got the cd "Fingers Crossed" by Architecture in Helsinki. They're an octet (that means 8) from Australia, and I'd heard some good things about them and heard a couple new mp3s off of an upcoming cd, and I really liked the 30 second samples at Amazon.com. They're kind of like an electronic Belle and Sebastian, but with even more of the randomness and inconsistency that people complain about with Belle and Sebastian.

So I was pretty disappointed. The songs don't live up to the promise of those Amazon samples, as most of the songs are really only good for thirty seconds, then I'd realize that they don't go anywhere. It seems like the band has good ideas, but they never seem to get fleshed out or realize their potential, kind of like me in college. I'm just speculating, but the band kind of sounds like it's a bunch of friends who got together to make a record and goof around. Or maybe they got a lot of money to make a record based on potential and slacked off for awhile, then had to rush to get it finished. Maybe they were trying to make the record sound minimalistic, but it really just sounds barren and incomplete. Or maybe they just get bored with their songs, most of which are around 2 minutes, because a lot of them stop and start again, sometimes with an entirely different melody, making the album sound even more disjointed.

Some songs sound like incidental music in a movie or background music. The rest are just unrealized. I'm easily distracted or tune out when I listen to this CD. Another problem is that the male singer's voice is pretty annoying, it's supposed to sound quiet and whispery, but really just sounds strained. Not to sound mean, but it reminds me of getting a random friend to sing a song quietly, and that friend is just an average singer. Sometimes the annoyingness dominates the song, as on "Where You've Been Hiding", where he repeats "pictures" and it makes me want to skip the track. I'm not sure exactly who the guy is, as the liner notes and website don't list them separately.

The last two songs, "City Calm Down" and "Vanishing" have the most promise (and are also among the longer songs on the album,) but even they aren't that great. The rest are unremarkable, in that they all sound like they could be good, but then collapse or disappear.

It's possible that I just need to listen to this CD more to appreciate it. We'll see.

But I think this band does have promise, as the mp3 of "Do the Whirlwind" (from Rae, via Stereogum), off their upcoming CD is much better.

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