Music Reviews: RAC, Architecture in Helsinki, The Afghan Whigs
Dan Loughry

The Afghan Whigs
Do to the Beast
(Sub Pop)
* * * *
Band reunions are a double-edged sword. Pro: you get to see beloved performers one more time. Con: new music, if any, usually disappoints. Greg Dulli, the band’s main motivator and frontman, must have been aware of this during recording of this first record in 16 years, because he and bassist John Curley (the only remaining original members) not only recapture the spark of the band at its finest but turn inspiration into a blaze. They’re as rough and elegant as ever while putting to shame rock artists half their age in the process. Prime Cuts: “The Lottery,” “It Kills,” “Matamoros” —Dan Loughry

Architecture in Helsinki
Now + 4Eva
(Casual Workout)
What a difference a decade makes. In 2003, Architecture in Helsinki burst onto the scene with Fingers Crossed, boasting a vibrant, makeshift DIY style that sounded batshit insane. The band explored that sound for the brilliant In Case We Die but have suffered since then by trying to commercialize its sound. Now + 4Eva is even more obnoxious and commercial than its title suggests. Everything interesting about this band has been sanded down, leaving behind nothing but glossily produced shlock. A band with such an interesting name shouldn’t be producing such banal music. —Dominik Rothbard

Strangers Part II
(Cherry Tree)
* * *
RAC stands for Remix Artist Collective, comprised of Andre Allen Anjos, and he’s been delivering excellent reworks for nearly a decade. On this proper extended play debut, he showcases his chops as an actual songwriter, musician and producer. The resulting work is a decidedly ‘80s throwback, with its pleasing mix of mid-tempo synth-pop and subtle indie rock tones. Guest collaborators include Kele (of Bloc Party) with MNDR, Penguin Prison, Tegan & Sara, Tokyo Police Club and Alex Ebert (of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros). The overall vibe is upbeat, sunny, twee and playful and makes for a superb springtime soundtrack. Prime Cuts: “Let Go,” “Hollywood,” “Ready For It” —Paul V.

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