Architecture In Helsinki
It all began for AIH at the end of the 90's in a small Australian country town with a teen funk-grunge band called The Pixel Mittens, which featured core band members and long time friends Cameron Bird, Jamie Mildren and Sam Perry. The three pals outgrew the limitations of rural living and moved to Melbourne to have some fun. After the high school band burnt out, flamboyant lead singer Cameron, who was often seen on stage riding exercise bikes and conducting audience workout sessions, needed to branch out; Primus and Led Zeppelin were no longer doing it for him on a spiritual level.
It was then he met a folkie who diverted his taste and inspired him to learn how to play guitar. Within the year Cameron had rounded up a group of friends to try and play in concert. But it was in 2000 when he bought his first electric guitar that the band truly solidified. Bird soon met James Cecil who joined the band on drums and Kellie Sutherland who started playing clarinet on some of the band's new love songs. Architecture In Helsinki finally had some stability and with this new lineup, they set about performing their own take on the 90s pop atmospherics scene.
Fastforward to 2004, and after a year of solidly touring around Australia and North America in support of their technicolour debut 'Fingers Crossed' (as yet unreleased in the UK), Architecture in Helsinki, perhaps the most charming ramshackle musical posse to ever have emerged - eyes wide and blinking - from the southern hemisphere, had become a hardened combo. They'd taken the fragile whimsy and naivety of their studio-orientated debut and fused it with an almost punk energy. The songs were coming from somewhere else. The next album, for sure, was going to propel their sound to new heights.
It was in the depths of the Melbournian winter of 2004 then, that the eight-piece nestled into their clubhouse-cum-studio, Supermelodyworld (with The Carbohydrates on production duties), to start work on their second album. Armed with a veritable junk shop of instruments and perhaps a few too many ideas, the recording safari began...
Songs hung in mid air. Cats meowed into microphones. Plagues of mice were thwarted and way too much spaghetti was eaten. By the time the new year arrived the studio had turned into a saloon. Some 40 odd humans had passed through it, among them many local music luminaries and several hitherto hidden talents. They played and sang their hearts out, using a ridiculous array of instruments, including everything from bassoons, xylophones and melodicas, to power saws and angle grinders. Every day a new idea was hatched, phone calls were made, then someone who knew how to play the sitar or the steel drum, would show up, ready to offer their services in exchange for a slice of margherita..although in truth many settled for a decent cuppa. As a result, there was a uniquely and intensely communal aura which embedded itself into the songs produced. Eventually the New Year arrived, and AIH emerged from their communal hideout brandishing an album defined by a kind of handmade intricacy that is all too rare on modern pop albums. 'In Case We Die' was born.
One of the most striking traits of this album is the ease with which it references many eras and incarnations of popular music whilst retaining that unmistakable "Helsinki Sound." The album tips its hat to many disparate pop masterminds, as in the Rocky Horror-esque 'Wishbone', the Os Mutantes-styled schizophrenia of 'In Case We Die (Parts 1-4),' the Fleetwood Mac stomp of 'It'5!' or the Morricon-esque bombast of opening track, 'Neverevereverdid'. 'In Case We Die' was and is an ambitious journey to say the least.