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Acoustic wine spills over

By NIC HAYGARTH

THINGS OF Stone and Wood

aren't just storming Austra lia by birthday greeting. They're also taking Canberra venue by venue. The Canberra Labor Club, Tilley's and the Asylum have already sampled their rich acoustic touches. Now they're back at the

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porting Hothouse Flowers, hot on the heels of debut al bum release, The Yearning, and with Happy Birthday Helen still riding high in the charts.

So how does Helen feel about be

ing a star, her birth day celebrated on the airwaves and in pubs nation-wide?

"First of all it was pretty kind of cool," her boyfriend Greg Arnold reports, "but I suppose it's a bit frightening really. It certainly has been a much bigger record than we anticipat

ed."

Big enough, along with earlier single Share This Wine, to keep the Things on the road for the past six months, with no end in sight.

Four years ago, songwriter Ar nold and bassist/vocalist Michael Allen forged a partnership in Mel bourne indie band Thirteen At Midnight.

"I wasn't particularly keen to get

into a band after Thirteen At Mid night," says Greg now, "but Mikey kind of talked me into it really, and I think from that we learnt a few things we didn't want to do again -

and it's worked out."

The few months' break between bands gave Greg the flexibility to write in some of the styles reflected

Things of Stone and Wood: still singing birthday toasts.

on The Yearning.

Drummer Tony Floyd came with impressive credentials from work with Ross Wilson and Vince Jones. When Justin Brady joined, Things of Stone and Wood were still on the look-out for other instrumentalists.

But the harmonica/violin/man dolin/guitar player filled out the

sound so well on his"own.

They've got the inevitable "folk rock" tag that comes with arranging melodic rock songs with acoustic instruments.

But frontman Arnold considers il "not an unpleasant image."

The album was intended as an independent release.

However, after flirting with ma

jor labels, the Things found a happy

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Yearning in Sony.

Overall, the debut LP re flects five years' writing for Arnold, a collection of different moods and in fluences.

It captures some of the ex uberance of their live show without, as Ar nold explains, "blowing out entirely and missing the es sential nature of the materi

al "

Michael Allen commands some mean bass lines, and interesting string arrangements, other sawings of violin, as well as Justin's har monica and mandolin, mix intro spective moments with rocking choruses.

Things of Stone and Wood support Hothouse Flowers at the Royal Theatre on Wednesday, March 31.

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