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Zero 7
SIMPLE THINGS
(QUANGO/PALM)

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In a little more than a year of working together as Zero 7, British producers Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns have remixed tracks for Radiohead, Lenny Kravitz, and Sneaker Pimps and released their debut full-length to critical acclaim back home, where it was recently certified gold. A few minutes of listening to Simple Things makes it easy to understand why. Built on a solid foundation of smooth soul and R&B, this release has infusions of down-tempo electronic and hip-hop beats, strummy acoustic folk, jazz, string arrangements, and mellow funk bass lines. Itís divided between instrumental dance tracks and songs featuring guest vocals by Mozez, Sophie Baker, and Sia Furler, who take turns lulling you with their warm and emotive voices. The vocalists are as deft as the production team, avoiding the histrionics and acrobatics that are too often mistaken for displays of deep emotion in contemporary R&B. The result is an understated, refined collection of 14 tracks that subtly demand attention.

BY JOHN LEFLER

Issue Date: May 2 - 9, 2002
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