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13 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Different, Yes... But Worth the Effort to Discover It. A Fantastic Album! Jan 24, 2010
By A. Taylor
"Music Addict & Tech Junkie"
I'm a huge fan of Zero 7. Their first two albums have been on heavy rotation in my playlists since they were released, and both contain some of the best, soulful, downtempo music out there. With the release of their fourth album, "Yeah Ghost," they definitely take a departure from their usual formula. Many fans on here are slamming the new release as utter unlistenable garbage and frankly, I think they're being incredibly unfair. No, it doesn't sound like their previous albums, but if you give it a chance, it stands as quite a fine album on in its own right. Some of the classic Zero 7 sound is still there to be found, but this time around it is interweaved with influences from more electro/dance contemporaries such as Basement Jaxx, The Chemical Brothers, and Royksopp, maybe even a touch of Moby's moodier work. Highlights include the dreamy uptempo "Swing" which reminds me a bit of Feist both in vocals and melody. Zero 7 co-founder Henry Binns does a great job with the vocals on "Everything Up," a fun mid-tempo electro/acoustic romp. The highlight of the album for me is "Pop Art Blue" which is very reminiscent of Norway's Bel Canto. Simply a gorgeous song that deserves your attention.
All in all, this album is certainly a departure from their signature sound, but a very welcome one. Though the vocals of Sia are missing now that she has her own solo career, the approach to this recording is fresh, fun, and highly entertaining... something that was frankly missing from their third album "The Garden". I suggest you approach this album with an open mind and give it a few listens. It just keeps getting better and better as it soaks in. "Yeah Ghost" sits easily in my list of the top twenty albums released in the past year.
98 of 123 found the following review helpful:
Yeah Ghost? How about Hell to the N-O? Oct 01, 2009
By P. DuVal
For Zero 7's work thus far, the praise has been shared in prior reviews, and I'm sure will be repeated by others. The UK act's debut album "Simple Things" was a true classic, with the second album "When It Falls" coming close to its predecessor's greatness. 2007's "The Garden" was a tad more abstract, but still had some very strong entrees to its credit. And as if all that wasn't enough, Zero 7 are a GREAT act to see live on stage. Their deft merging of electronics, organic instrumentation and an array of unique vocalists added some welcome warmth and depth to what some have criticized as a shallow and emotionless genre.
All this leads up to their fourth effort, 2009's "Yeah Ghost", which wipes the canvas clean and makes the artist virtually unrecognizable. Sam Hardaker and Harvey Binns are still on board as the prime shapers of the music, but they've decided to move toward a sound that's often cold, sometimes abrasive, and too concerned with artsiness instead of the emotional vibes that flow from the music itself. Those 'simple things' that we once adored are now more complicated, and the new lineup of vocalists don't allow the music to come to life like they did in the past. The most notable difference is the absence of singer Sia Furler, who not only added a tinge of tortured soul-diva intensity, but the character that she infused allowed Zero 7 to be more than just a throwaway act with a hit single on a WB soundtrack and nothing more. Other Zero 7 collaborators like Mozez, Tina Dico, Jose Gonzalez and Sophie Barker were solid foils when it came to adding some skin and bones to the digital fabric of their signature sound. The vivid textures and substance that made those songs great are bleached out and sanitized on this album, and often it's so harsh that the notable voids leave you with nothing but buzzing eardrums and a gaping jaw.
Entering the fray on "Yeah Ghost" is vocalist Eska, who does little to separate herself from the rest of today's neo-soul and gospel-tinged warblers, and serves as the oil to Hardaker and Binns' water. They make for a bad match because the overreaching nature of Eska's often grating voice competes with the backing music instead of complementing it. Other vocalists (including Binns himself) create drifting impressions that don't come close to the indelible aura of Sia's voice or any other past singer you'd find on their three prior releases. The overall sound is so impeccably produced that you'd swear the whole thing was done with sequenced loops and ProTools instead of live musicians. The stuttering bleeps and skips that surfaced on songs like "Futures" from the past record are evident here, but they come through as an unwelcome disruption instead of a strong element within the song. By the time "Yeah Ghost" wheezes to a halt and elicits its final blip, you're left with a combination of indifference and annoyance, two dynamics that I never thought I'd feel from a Zero 7 record.
Bottom line: If you loved the first three releases, and especially if you've seen them perform live, you will having nothing but deep-seated hatred in your soul with "Yeah Ghost". This is Zero 7 going through a common artists' phase where they alienate their base listenership with a total about-face in sound, hoping that new fans are possibly attracted. It's been done before by others, but it's truly disappointing when the faithful have to cover their ears in disgust when something so repulsive sees the light of day.
Do yourself a favor and sit this one out. It's easily the most disappointing album of 2009 so far.
10 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Should have be released as Kling, not Zero 7 Dec 14, 2009
While I do like a few of the tracks on this CD, there are too many throw away tracks to allow me to give it a good review. I also don't care for Eska's voice on this CD, it is just grating and nasal. I am glad they replaced her on the US leg of the 2009 tour, her replacement has a much more pleasing voice. I did get the chance to see them live, and they did a much better job on every song from Yeah Ghost. I was very impressed with their musical ability. However, their experimentation did not stop with their new songs. They decided to rework all of their biggest hits making them totally unrecognizable. I was horribly disappointed to hear my favorites "In The Waiting Line" turned into an acoustic folk ballad and "Home" played at 1/3 speed with totally bizarre instrumentation. I waited 7 years to see them live and it saddened me to hear what they could do to those songs. I just hope this is just a phase.
18 of 23 found the following review helpful:
Can I have my money back? Oct 09, 2009
By John L
I am stunned. I waited three years for this superb outfit's new album. I got this. First: vocals. "Mr McGee" awoke me to what has happened Zero 7. "Medicine Man," despite being a nice tune, killed me off. It's hard to reconcile the grating squall of their new singer, Eska Mtungwazi, with the sultry, sophisticated voices of former members, Sia Furler and Sophie Barker. The range these singers could reach, while maintaining a delicate style, is something Eska cannot replace. Sometimes it is not about a taste in singers; sometime - like here - I feel a vocalist can turn you completely off the album as a whole. This is one of those times. (Admittedly, Eska sings nicely on the sweet "The Road" - but why did it take until the second last track for this to happen?!)
We get some reprieve with "Swing" and "Pop Art Blue," sung by Martha Tilston, but the simplistic nature of the songs make you wish for earlier albums' tracks. It's such a shame that the released track "Eyerything Up" does not represent what we can expect from the album as a whole. Nice vocals from Binns. But that's his solo effort!
Several songs are simply poor quality technobabble. It beggars belief why, after three years, songs like "Count Me In," "Ghost Symbol," "Sleeper" and "Solastalgia" get included. They seem little more than egotistical arsty nonsense that the listener will be sold, regardless of any genuine aesthetics.
Yeah ghost closes with "All Of Us" as if they had time left on the clock in the recording studio. It seems there has been a massive shift in the last few years from the smooth and melodic to the sharp, metalic and cold. Can I have my money back?
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
im not taking the right drugs Nov 17, 2009
By William Stebe
I have been a fan of this band for many years and considered zero 7 my favorite band until now. What a waste of money and time. Obviously I'm not taking the right drugs to enjoy this album. Let it be know that all thier other albums are incredible.
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