4 of 4 thought this review was well written
This octet from Melbourne formed in 2000, and have been placed into the sub-genre of indie pop that some call 'Twee Pop'. Twee Pop usually contains innocent lyrics and instruments and is very poppy and carefree. Architecture in Helsinki fit in this subgenre like a glove. Their music is naive and child-like, and some songs could easily be used in a childrens show. They use a myriad of instruments, including recorders, glockenspiels, analog synths, samplers of children's voices, tap dancing (yes they use tap dancing as an instrument), various low brass instruments, and clarinet among others as well as typical drums and guitars. They alternate between a male and female singer, both with sweet, naive voices to match the music set behind them perfectly. While the male singer sounds nasaly and reserved at times, it can also be very effective and fit to the music perfectly. The girl singer's voice is light and airy, and it is used very nicely on the album.
The songs on Fingers Crossed seem to separate themselves into different categories. There is the small children's sugar high category, the quirky pop category, and the light, airy songs that can be easily tune out category.
The sugar high category includes the songs One Heavy Feburary, an instrumental track with fun synths and hand clapping, The Owls Go, which incorporates ADD into the sugar euphoria, adding samples of kids and different styles popping in and out (including using tapdancing and finger snaps as percussion), Fumble, which has a nice brass line and a wonderfully fun chorus, reminding you of summer and are just really cheerful, great songs.
The quirky pop category also has some really nice songs including Imaginary Ordinary, which has a bass recorder in the intro and is a very sweet song for your special secret crush, or your boy or ladyfriend, Scissor Paper Rock, which has a nice keyboard part and features the lovely girl vocals. It is a very sweet, twinkly song about relationships. Spring 2008, which reminds me of kids walking into the magical woods of candy and enchantment and seeing all the surreal things, and City Calm Down, which is another light poppy song about having a secret crush. It has a nice twinkly feeling and includes a flute line which is very quirky and lovely. While not as upbeat or spontaneous as the latter category, they are entertaining and very carefree and innocent.
You may be thinking "The light and airy tracks probably suck since you can tune them out easily". Well, that isn't true. They incorporate soft sung vocals and light instruments that may cause you to drift away in your own imagination. In some cases, they seem to be a detriment to the poppier songs on the album, but to me are refreshing and remind me of clouds. Souvenirs is a perfect example. It seems to float higher and higher as the song goes along, and near the end gets a euphoric synth line placed in and makes it seem like you are on cloud mountain with free candy. To and Fro has a nice tuba line that reminds me of the children's show Veggie Tales, when Larry the Cucumber would play his tuba. Like a Call is very reminiscient of the Postal Service, with the percussion in the background and soft voices, and is lovely as well. Vanishing is similar to Souvenirs, reminding me of floating higher and higher. It is mostly instrumental until around midway though, when both voices come in very quietly.
All in all, this album is sort of a hit or miss. While it doesnt have the intensity as their newest album, In Case We Die, it has very catchy, fun tunes with sugared on soft vocals that remind you of carefree children. They are truly a unique group who make very quirky pop tunes that are guaranteed to make you smile.