Wisdom Of Harry House Of Binary

Back in the pre-Oasis days, when Creation's roster was full of bands that inspired loyalty from fans but few sales, acts like the Weather Prophets and the Loft ruled the roost. Both fronted by Pete Astor, they carved out a niche, musically, where they gained quite the following, but it has taken another decade and another incarnation for Astor to produce the best music of his career. House Of Binary is the Wisdom Of Harry's first proper album (the previous CD, Stars Of Super 8, was a collection of early, impossible-to-find singles) and it is one of the more imaginatively compelling records that I've heard in quite some time. Rather than staying true to his indie-rock roots, Astor finds himself flirting with electronica these days. Yet there are all kinds of other influences weaving throughout the music and somehow it all sticks together in a cohesive manner - it doesn't feel clumsy or laboured. The instrumental tracks (and there are quite a few of those) have a sweeping cinematic sound that share some similarities with what Looper have been up to lately. The vocals tracks, however, cover an awful lot of ground - the first single, "Coney Island Of Your Mind," could come off any Nectarine No. 9 album while "I'm Going To Make My Life Right" has melancholic similarities to Sparklehorse. But every track has more going on than you think on the first listen - repeated listens will strip away layer after layer, revealing a surprising amount of depth. Charmingly lo-fi, yet with enough bleeps and beats to give it more modern sensibilities, House Of Binary is an album that has enough tricks up its sleeve to engage anyone who doubts the practicalities of combining as many genres of music as takes the artist's fancy. (Matador)