Words by: Eamon Foley
Architecture in Helsinki :: 06.08 :: The Fillmore at Irving Plaza :: New York, NY
For a loose collection of carefree mavericks, Architecture in Helsinki sure is tight. Their untroubled attitude helps them stand out from other band's organized PR onslaughts, and this night they painted a performance that was more colorful than a Jackson Pollock creation. If they're religious, "Fun" would probably be their deity. Each of the members danced, jumped and grinned their way through a lively, endearing and heartfelt set of energetic pop.
Architecture in Helsinki
Despite the worst lighting I've ever seen, this was a blast. It took a request from singer Cameron Bird to "turn off the flashy bits" for our eyes to be saved from the fit-inducing strobes. I'd be surprised if everybody escaped intact. Hopefully the only fits were those of us in the crowd who followed the band's lead and threw out our own goofy shapes.
Like a fairground carousel, AIH rotated around the stage, swapping instruments that ranged from the lowly triangle to the mighty trombone and encompassed nearly everything in between. Embracing mayhem, their sonic pit stops ranged from disco to salsa beats, and while they occasionally veered towards the slower, darker side of the emotional spectrum, this show was a blast from start to finish. With six people onstage, the result was an unruly, yet somehow orderly show that resembled the scrum at an airport baggage claim – slightly chaotic yet everything worked out in the end.
Architecture has played tour support for the likes of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Death Cab for Cutie. However, they seem to suffer from regular comparisons - which border on criticism - to the Talking Heads. While that's far from the worst condemnation in the world, they'd do well to avoid being pigeonholed in this way. During the show, I heard echoes of their contemporaries CSS as well as The Go! Team from the UK.
I'm certainly not the band's biggest fan, but their carefree, almost nonsensical frolicking is impossible to resist. After a heartfelt plea to support music, they finished the night with a raucous version of the insanely catchy single "Heart it Races" that had the crowd dancing in the aisles of the Architecture In Helsinki's church of fun. If you want to watch a group of attitude-free people having a grand time live, then this is for you.
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