The Listener The Listener

Toronto musician Steve Harkness has a gift for composing dynamic pop tunes similar in spirit to some of the Flaming Lips' catchiest, weirdest and most fantastical numbers. The three tracks on this independent debut/calling-card release lock listeners in with infectious melody before seamlessly shifting gears between hooks and grooves and occasionally soaring with pseudo orch-pop flourishes. Great stuff that sounds really well produced yet maintains a sense of homespun charm. Hopefully there's a lot more where this came from, and soon. The Listener's live shows reportedly entail Harkness and his minions cloaked in robes and sporting bizarre sci-fi headgear. Fun enough gimmicks but hardly necessary given how sturdily these songs stand up on their own. (Independent)