The artwork for Architecture In Helsinki's new album "Places Like This" is, in a word, busy.
The artwork for Architecture In Helsinki's new album "Places Like This" is, in a word, busy. It's dominated by line-drawings of skyscrapers, people and robots milling around on the sidewalk in washes of yellows, pinks and blues. A greener, more natural, less urban setting lurks below the streets. The dichotomy evokes an organic past being covered over by technology. It's a fitting image for the band.
"The art was done by a lad from London called Will Sweeney. He is one of our favorite artists in the universe, so we were pretty damn excited that he was up for it," frontman Cameron Bird tells Billboard.com. "Basically the art was his interpretation of the music, so hopefully, looking into the cover creates some mystical psychedelic reactions."
"Places Like This," which according to Bird is named after the 1990 Robbie Nevil album "Place Like This," takes the verse-chorus-verse pop song and amps it up with steroids. With all six members contributing something to the colorful chaos, the bombastic, sing-along nature of AIH's music is enhanced by Bird's wacky yowl and it's boisterous rhythm section. Word of the group has now spread to enough "places" to earn the troupe its first chart ink, with this fourth full-length flying in at No. 7 on Top Heatseekers, No. 5 on Top Electronic Albums and No. 31 on Top Independent Albums.
Architecture in Helsinki are not, as you might suspect, from Scandinavia. The Australian group began in the late '90s with "drawn-out, eight-minute atmospheric wig-outs," and a revolving door of personnel. But when Bird returned down under following an extended stay in the United States, he brought with him a new appreciation for "sub-2.5 minute pop songs, sharp and catchy, with no time to look at your shoes." The group is now rounded out by Jamie Mildren, James Cecil, Sam Perry, Gus Franklin and Kellie Sutherland. "Six [people] is just right. It means when you buy a 6 pack no one gets left out," Bird quips, "...though it'd be nice to add an electric sitar virtuoso."
The band's accessibility – keeping songs short and to the point -- has won them fans, as has their inimitable live show. But Bird avvers, "I guess it all depends what you call accessible. We are always gonna divide people, [whether we're] too pop, not pop enough... making people happy is a full time job."
And when he says, "full time" he means it. AIH has what Bird describes as a "nomadic" tendency to tour worldwide almost constantly, and to craft their music wherever they happen to be. While the members hail from Australia, "We are based all over the place. [We're] perennial nomads if you will, so maybe that has affected our psyches and ideas and the flow of vibes," says Bird of the way the group writes. "I think as soon as [travel] starts affecting us too much, we will probably implode in a really spectacular fashion."