14 October 2007

But I'm Not Bitter That Jess Saw Them Live. Honest.

So there's this thing I do. I guess, well, I guess you'd call it a bad habit. A bad habit that I can't afford, but that I indulge in way too often.

I see CDs with cool covers and I buy them. Because they have cool covers. Have I heard of them before? Does the tracklisting look cool? Is it cheap? These things don't matter! I will put CDs that I have been wanting for ages back on the shelf and gleefully skip to the counter clutching the nicely artworked album close, because the cover looks cool.

More often than not the music is OK in a mediocre kind of way. Sometimes it's downright awful. And sometimes, just sometimes, the music is amazing. It doesn't happen often, but when it does... The feeling makes all the rubbish (like that Panic! At The Disco album I bought just before the awful awful (just awful) "I chime in with haven't you people ever heard of..." song hit the radio because I was tickled by the people having mis-matched legs and torsos) that I buy seem worth it.

So let's rewind, shall we, to a few years ago. 2005, to be more exact. I was wandering around 78s, thinking maybe I would get the latest White Stripes album, when I paused by the 'Local Music!' display. An album caught my eye. The cover had this really cute hand drawn feel to it, there were all these green palm tree-y looking plants, and a big red heart and a dude that was maybe sticking a cane into a leaky hole, or maybe conducting an invisable orchestra with a hose, and there was a random porthole and a stained glass window. My brain declared it very cool, and my hands and feet worked together to get it to the checkout.

It wasn't until after I paid for it that I even looked at the album name and artist. "In Case We Die," by Architecture in Helsinki. ('Huh,' I thought, 'that's an odd name. Maybe it was put in the local music section by accident then?')

I listened to it. And I hated it. I really, really did. I just wasn't ready for the kind of music AiH had to offer me! But time passed, and I gave the album another try, and I realised what a fool I had been. How could I not have appreciated the way the creepy opening of the first song, Nevereverdid, melds beautifully into a happy boppy little tune? How could I have thought the harmonising vocals childish and annoying? I look back at old Megan, and I shake my head at her!

As an album, to me, 'In Case We Die' has a certain innocence to it. It has sinister moments, to be sure, but, ok, I'm going to get a little weird here but bear with me, it's like some of the moments are dark and forbidding, but the other moments are unaware of it. Like a little kid happily getting into a car with a stranger. 'Oh hey, you have candy! Awesome! I love candy! Do you love candy? Once, I had some candy, but my brother took it from me, so I hid his guinea pig, and then my mum got mad, and then...' So I guess what I'm trying to say it, 'In Case We Die' is like a hyperactive little kid, blissfully unaware of all the danger the future holds.

And so what of this years follow up album, "Places Like This?" (Which also has a very kick ass cover. But in pure Megan fashion I did not buy it for ages because all these albums with cool covers that I knew nothing about needed to be bought first...) From the opening notes it is very clear that that candy-loving ditz of a kid has grown up. The contrast between dark and light is not as well defined on this album. Instead, the two are combined. The melodies are still there, but no longer do they seem as crazy and little-kid-spinning-in-circles-until-they-vomit-from-the-dizziness-ish. They seem more cohesive, more planned. The whole album just has a much more mature sound. The falsetto's are almost completely gone, the lyrics seem to actually make sense. You pull up to this album and offer it some candy, it would probably just flip you off and keep cartwheeling down the street.

The cover of 'In Case We Die' is a building filled with random and magical things, surrounded by a wild jungle. On the cover of 'Places Like This,' the jungle has been suppressed, a crazy but at the same time orderly city constructed on top of it. What does this mean? I don't know, I just buy 'em cause they look cool. (But there's no physically impossible portholes to be found on 'Places Like This.' I'm just saying...)

from "In Case We Die:"
I was walking on the moon with your stalker
The Cemetery.mp3
There's a shadow on the wall and it's nine feet tall

from "Places Like This:"
Like It Or Not.mp3 (Oh man, I love this song. Ask me what my favourite AiH song is, this is my answer.)
Let me tell you something about christmas time when it's hot (i love that line. there needs to be more songs about christmas in the summertime).
the wrath of millions of thieves lies disguised


(I've not actually heard their debut album, in case you were wondering why I ignored it. The album cover is kind of boring, if I recall correctly...)

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