In Case We Die

These Australian musicians are ADHD-afflicted young adults who’ve gotten no sleep, consumed a breakfast of peanut-butter-and-chocolate cake with pudding filling and washed it down with gallons of Pepsi Cola consumed through red-licorice straws. Combine this state with the musical inroads courageously paved previously by Neutral Milk Hotel, Polyphonic Spree and The Arcade Fire, and you have the orchestral pop of the occasionally endearing but mostly annoying Architecture in Helsinki. Its very busy eight members live (and die) by the kitchen-sink approach times 10. (Songwriting Rule No. 1: The best songs will always survive if scaled down to one voice and guitar.) AIH seize bombast and overblown faux-Broadway musical arrangements counter to any suggestion of subtlety and refinement. In place of compelling songwriting are handclaps, exuberant cries and a raging zoo of instruments—sitars, Wurlitzer and Farfisa organs, steel drums, Theremins and musical saws—all competing to create the agonizing, crippling headaches that result. Really, why should kids stand up straight and sing, when they can squeal, shout, grab your legs and crap their drawers for attention?