Architecture in Helsinki
November 6, 2007
By Jonah Flicker
Architecture in Helsinki is an ever-changing animal. Every show I’ve seen them play lately has been profoundly different; from their hippie-dippie Spaceland appearance while promoting their incredible sophomore album, In Case We Die, to last spring’s more rocking set at the Fonda in support of Places Like This, their first album for indie stalwart Polyvinyl Records. The Fonda felt like too cavernous a venue for this quirky little collective, although they usually number at least six onstage. But tonight’s performance at the Troubadour, the first of two back-to-back shows, felt cozy and just right. Bandleader Cameron Bird infuses his songwriting with a childlike sensibility, which bands like Los Campesinos try in vain to ape but end up sounding like cheap imitations. Innocence is such a clichéd emotion in indie rock; you’re not gonna fool anyone by forcing it.
photos by Jonah Flicker
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AIH ripped through a wonderfully sloppy, unforced but cohesive set, or as Bird put it, they “casually pumped out jams.” Their newly appropriated disco and new wave influenced sound, very evident on their latest album, injected older songs like “It’s 5!” and “The Cemetery” with a joyful vigor.
Overall, the band seemed more confident and stronger with their new material than they did at their last stop here. And they appeared to be truly enjoying themselves as they played, judging from the smiles onstage; a refreshing change from the self-serious crop of bands that pull in the big crowds. After some aimless banter about eating kangaroo and performing what they referred to as the Australian equivalent of “Freebird,” a keyboard malfunctioned and the band ran into a bit of a delay while figuring it out. Didn’t seem to matter much, though, as the Troubadour launched into full-scale dance party when “Heart it Races” ended the night, dancehall rhythms slyly realized in their typically slipshod manner.