A s far as Arling & Cameron are concerned, pop music is really just a grand sonic experiment made better by cornball humour, mock seriousness, an encyclopedic knowledge of some of the silliest films ever made and a firm belief that if you throw enough weird shit at the wall, a coherent shape will eventually emerge.
The dashing Dutch duo's tremendously entertaining gig at Lee's Monday took all the twisted, wilfully spazzy aspects of their carousel-perfect pop and inflated them into mass proportions. Their Casio-coated anthem We Love To Rock, for instance, was given the full-on Kraftwerk treatment, with singer/ringleader Richard Cameron -- tastefully decked out, like partner Gerry Arling, in courtside whites -- copping ridiculous robotic moves that winked straight at the audience. Daft sing-alongs and semi-earnest pleas for unhinged dancing similarly yanked us into their orange-shag-and-chocolate-brown-corduroy orbit. And yes, the theremin was given props.
Yet the beauty of Arling & Cameron is that while everyone is in on the joke, it's still a gas to play along. And how often does playing along include whistling to a song aptly titled Groovy? No matter how jokey their music, there's never any doubt that Arling & Cameron approach it with craft and care, even when the subject matter is as nutty (for them anyway) as waiting for the "W-E-E-K-E-N-D."
Apart from the manicured hailstorm of pre-recorded synth, flute and fretless bass, the show's other star was the visuals -- an inspired amalgam of old films, animation and, um, stuff that provided Cameron with ample opportunity to show off his nimble finger shadows. Impressive but not quite as impressive as the soap bubbles that emanated from Herr Doctor Jan Klug's amplified flute. High-gloss, high-tech fromage at its finest.
ARLING & CAMERON,at Lee's Palace, July 17. Tickets: $11.50-$13. Attendance: 120. Rating: NNNN