Wisdom Of Harry
Like a slew of other bands, Wisdom of Harry is a band that falls somewhere in-between a more traditional outfit and an electronic artist. Although he's technically been around since the mid-nineties creating stuff, House Of Binary is technically the first album for Pete Astor (aka the main man behind the group). A whole slew of 10" and 7" tracks were compiled on another CD entitled Stars Of Super 8, but this album is more of a cohesive work (naturally).
Without grasping for something to compare the release to, I'd say that it has a similar groove as many of the tracks off the Feng Shui release by Q-Burns Abstract Message. Not only do the beats and songs fall into a more mid-tempo, lo-fi rhythym, but the singing on a lot of the tracks also reminds me of some of the vocal work done on the above mentioned work. With that in mind, though. Astor works different angles as well and has created sort of a lo-fi electronic sing-along disc with some instrumental tracks that sort of buffer things out.
After a short intro track of "Hello" which is a simple instrumental combined with samples of people saying "hello" in different languages), the album slides into "Unit One." With a simple beat and some choppy, wanked guitar and twinkling keyboards, it pastiches a little bit too many things together without anything to stick them to. The album really hits stride, though, on the third track (and first track that really makes you want to sing along) in "Coney Island Of Your Mind." With a little more grime on the guitar and a more traditional song structure, the throaty vocals by Astor fit in quite nicely. Things don't slow down from there, though, and the very next track of "Caesar Boots" is just as fun, with a slick beat and a simple guitar part that works nonetheless.
The parts of the album that don't work quite as well are some of the "instrumental" ones unfortunatley. Tracks like "Theme From Eggboy" and "Disco C" simply seem aimless compared to the ones on which there are vocals, while the new-school western sound of "Palefinger" manages to hold interest with a better arrangement. "Woke Up Buzzing" and "Boxed" both take a darker approach than earlier tracks on the disc and the somewhat haunting sound (albeit, with a few goofy things thrown in for good measure) works even better with the baritone vocals. Overall, it's an interesting disc and one that shows a lot of promise. It's quirky, lo-fi pop, with a bit of electronic thrown in for good measure.