Architecture in Helsinki

Kings College, London, 4 June 2007

Written by Joanna McGarry

Apt that Architecture in Helsinki should choose Kings College as the host for their one and only UK date, as the youthful energy of the student haunt provides an active harmony to the sounds of their latest album Places Like This. Instantly cheery and colourful, the six piece Melbourne based ensemble took to the stage and looked every inch the eccentric and varied spectrum that their musical style denotes.

Famed for their love of layering unusual instruments, Architecture In Helsinki do not disappoint, seamlessly gliding between the triangle to the trombone, synthesizer to drum machine; each member equally contributing to the all encompassing joyous rapture that marks a departure from their back catalogue. Places Like This is an accelerated jaunt from their obscure yet eccentric indie roots and a satisfying arrival into unashamed quirky pop.

Understandably, this genuine love for upbeat, textured sounds has brought them industry admirers, and a legion of eager collaborators. One of whom was present on the night, critically acclaimed producer and performer Max Tundra. Another notable fan is the legendary David Byrne of Talking Heads who they recently supported in New York. And it is Byrne whom Cameron Bird inadvertently channels in his performance; spellbound and transfixed, Bird manipulates his voice to astounding and occasionally comic effect resulting in a tumultuously theatrical experience. Providing effervescent and excitable bubblegum vocal harmonies, Kelly Sutherland is a joy to watch, she is playful on stage; deflecting the warmth and charisma that emanates from Bird.

As an ensemble, Architecture in Helsinki appear to be refreshingly unaware of themselves, with a natural and charismatic demeanour. This proved to be a useful attribute when the ferocious drumming from Bird resulted in a collapsed drum machine. Luckily the rest of the band were on hand to help gaffa tape it to his body while Bird indulged in some light-hearted banter to keep the tempo up.

The warm atmosphere of the night culminated in an uplifting encore performance of the forthcoming single Heart It Races. The Aussies in the crowd were audible in their enjoyment but be warned, we’re fast adopting Architecture in Helsinki as our own.

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