“The first inspiration was a giant brick-walled room”, says Rubik singer and guitarist Artturi Taira of the songs written for his band’s latest album Solar.

The room can be found in the House of Culture in the band’s hometown of Helsinki, a former 1950s movie theater designed by iconic Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, and originally built for Finland’s Communist Party. While the city endured an exceptionally hot and dry summer, the Rubik collective were rehearsing and recording new material in a dark room with no natural light.

This extreme contrast between the inner world of the brick room and the sunny outdoors gave these acoustic sessions an otherworldly feel. The music being created possessed a mystical element, while the free-flowing sounds echoing around the massive space added a psychedelic quality. Yet, the end result is hardly indulgent and, above all, Solar is a record of well-crafted and cohesive indie pop.

Rubik’s music has always combined a technical approach to sound manipulation with a natural sense of melody, ever since its first live shows around Helsinki in 2003. After releasing a six-track EP People Go Missing in early 2005, the band was quickly signed by the country’s leading independent label Fullsteam who put out Rubik’s debut album Bad Conscience Patrol in 2007.

Already displaying a neat fusion of experimental sounds and accessible songwriting, Rubik nevertheless had to wait until 2009 to break beyond the boundaries of the band’s native land. The catalyst was sophomore album Dada Bandits and its 11 tracks of distinctive pop brilliance. Critics praised the record but struggled to define Rubik; unable to decide whether Dada Bandits was a triumph of hipster-approved, leftfield indie rock or something altogether more radio-friendly.

Nevertheless NPR tastemaker KEXP fell in love with the band and had them in for a session during CMJ, modern punk rock handbook Alternative Press listed Rubik in its “100 Bands You Need To Know in 2010”, purveyors of hipster style Nylon featured the group as its monthly “Band Crush”, while all-things-cool-and-indie bible Spin praised the song “Goji Berries” for its “hypnotic chorus”. Music fans were equally approving and Rubik’s popularity increased, following a series of live shows and festival appearances across Europe and the U.S. in 2010.

Upon concluding the tour, the foursome holed up in that brick-walled room to record their third album. The space has an important place in Finland’s music scene, having played host to such legends as John Coltrane, Queen, Frank Zappa, Gil Evans and Jimi Hendrix. Inspiration was obviously not in short supply and Solar features “the best songs we have ever written”, according to Taira.

Once more, listeners will discover a record that is thrillingly diverse in style and tone. Lead single “Laws of Gravity” is a pure kind of shiny synth pop, while “Not a Hero” is grim rock underscored by a dark and funky bass line. “Storm in a Glass of Water” blends a clean, classical guitar line with murky beats over seven epic minutes of twisted folk-pop, while “Crisis Meeting at the Lyceum” is a joyful affair infused with a jaunty clarinet and exuberant drums.

Recorded and produced by the band, with mixing by Animal Collective and Deerhunter collaborator Ben Allen, Solar is further proof of Rubik’s capacity to delight, enthrall and astonish.