Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Architecture In Helsinki did a huge disservice to itself by releasing Moment Bends’ “That Beep” as a stopgap single in 2009. A shuffling, effervescent bit of mid-’80s pastiche that corrected the spastic excesses of 2007’s divisive Places Like This, “That Beep” set high expectations for a new AIH record full of slick, skeletal synth-pop and electro-funk. Unfortunately, Moment Bends isn’t that record. In the context of Moment Bends, “That Beep” still stands as an example of what could’ve been: It kicks off a four-song race to the finish—highlighted by “Denial Style,” a more-artful-than-Gaga pilfering of Madonna’s “Express Yourself”—that’d make a fantastic EP. But even that wouldn’t satisfy anyone who waited four years for a follow-up to Places Like This; those people are instead left with the would-be bangers and limp digi-ballads that form Moment Bends’ first side. The new record goes too far toward buffing out the quirks of its predecessor, mistaking studio compression and unexciting genre exercises for more focused songwriting. In the end, it plays like Places Like This without a personality or sense of adventure—something the band didn’t do away with on “That Beep.”


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