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Zero 7
WHEN IT FALLS
(Elektra/Asylum)
Stars graphics

As a duo mining the past with a combination of electronic and organic instrumentation, Zero 7 have been lumped in with the moody French duo Air. When It Falls should begin to correct that impression. The British duo of Sam Hardaker and Henry Bins possess an old-school soul know-how that qualifies them as a thinking manís electronica outfit. This release builds on the success of their 2001 debut, Simple Things, adding jazzier shadings to their electro-organic mix and drawing on a heartier sampling of female singing. "Warm Song" is shot through with impassioned crooning and engaging neo-soul/R&B flourishes, including flute and organ embellishments that play off each other eloquently. The somber "Home" gets a boost from its horn arrangements; "Somersault" begins on unsure footing but eventually finds its way with multi-layered vocal overdubs set against soaring strings and tinkling organ. The lullaby "Over Our Heads" treads a little too close to the lite soul of Seal, but the disc ends on a pleasantly eclectic note with the circularly churning groove of "Look Up" followed by the country-flavored "In Time" and finally the narcotic mood of "Morning Song." All evidence that Zero 7 donít want to be pigeonholed as Air-heads.

BY CHRISTOPHER JOHN TREACY


Issue Date: March 19 - 25, 2004
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