Zero 7 were huge – fact. The album "Simple Things" was massive; a modern day classic – also fact. But that was then. Three years on from that album, and with reports of things "not going to plan" when previewing their new material on tour, what really are we supposed to expect from this latest incarnation of the Zero 7 sound?
The opener "Warm Sounds" does exactly what it says on the tin; a smooth, soulful vocal provided by the talented Mozez, lying on top of a rich tapestry of warm electronic ambience – a nicer start to an album you could not wish to find, taking you to a world away from where you are, probably, and certainly from the North London cityscape from which the talented duo hail.
The rest of the album slides along smoothly, getting ever more blissful with every track. By the time you have reached the untitled instrumental tracks in the middle of the album you are literally floating away on a cloud of bass, guitar and synth, watching the darkness of the world outside blur into insignificance; Zero 7’s world must be a very bright, hazy world indeed.
The key to this is the seeming simplicity of the structures of the tracks, even including the most uptempo number "In Time" (a harmonica led affair, no less!) – but don’t be fooled, there is a lot going on in the mix. From behind the lush layers of strings and orchestration you will find little splashes of analogue, pulsatingly deep bass and lightly plucked guitar – all creating a smooth, creamy cocktail of sound.
This is an album that is hard not to like, it is just too nice. Nice is a word I hate using, as to me it describes nothing, but on listening to the album, see if you can think of anything else! Although there is a little less "spark" than the previous effort – that certain something that makes a good album great, there is much to praise. Whether it will be as successful as the previous album is a different story altogether, but everything is here and in place. All that is left to say is, why call an album ‘When It Falls’, when all it does to you is lift?