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coverpic flag Australia - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05

Architecture in Helsinki + Food Group
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, AUS, 29.4.05

Have you ever seen a boy half your age play live before? Well I did on an autumnal Friday night, when Food Group supported Architecture in Helsinki. Food Group are a three-piece with young fresh-faced blonde boy on drums and occasional guitar/vocals, older bearded man (his Dad?) on guitar/vocals and drums, and young woman with nice hair on bass. They played loping shouty post-punk, a stripped-down Fall without Mark E. Smith's charisma. Distracting as a support band, but hardly earth-shattering. Just how old is that boy? And how old does he make me feel?!

My bemusement at seeing so young a performer in the support slot relates directly to how I feel about Architecture in Helsinki. Is their music childlike? Or childish? To see a group of eight men and women in their twenties exchanging instruments like football trading cards, playing sing-song tunes and having a lark is certainly charming, and a fuck load of fun. But does this music move me?

Who cares? You need to let go of any ideas that music has to be serious and say something profound in order to enjoy Architecture in Helsinki. Thankfully they don't have any pretences themselves, unlike, say, bloody Belle and Sebastian, who present their music as earnest 'art'. Architecture in Helsinki, on the other hand, are playing these silly, stop-start singalong ditties because they love the noises they're making and the sweet little melodies that weave through them - and are having a whale of a time doing it. It's infectious! You can dance like a tit to it!

They're charming, talented and a whole lot of fun, and I enjoyed the gig twice as much as I thought I would. Frontman Cameron Bird looks like a cross between Ron Howard and Jim Carrey, and twitches about on his sneakered feet as he belts out the tunes. They filled the stage with tropical plants, just because it looks cool. And I'm now going to get hold of their new album In Case We Die. It may be autumn here in Australia, but it's time for a little Helsinki sunshine.

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