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18 of 18 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.
101 of 128 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 11 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.
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.
11 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Zero 7 tried something new, but that's a good thing Dec 31, 2009
So let's get the obvious out of the way: this is not downtempo, nor classic Zero 7.
If you haven't jumped ship yet, then I give you a lot of credit.
It's a known fact people like bands for very particular reasons. Any change to those `particulars', be it a change of singers, style, substance, or direction, can have dire effects. In Yeah Ghost, the duo of Zero 7 has done...pretty much all of the above. Where as some would consider this a massive betrayal and career suicide (and it may be), I look at it as a hell of a gutsy (and all together successful) move. To start, this album has an electronic quality and complexity to it that has bordered on non-existent in their previous albums. This is much more engineered and tinkered with than previous entries, almost sounding like drug infused jazz-hop combined with psudo-goa and finished off with a drop of diesel fuel. Basically, it's a head on collision of a lot of different sounds and styles that never remains consistent from song to song.
It all starts with a crazy intro seemingly sent direct from the duos subconscious to scare current Zero 7 fans out of their collective Crocs. `Count Me Out', probably my least favorite track, is an assault meant to cleanse the palette of whatever you think you're going to get into on this album. But once you get past that hurdle (covered in spikes laced with arsenic) the album delves into the unflinchingly fun number Mr. McGee, where I couldn't help but tap my toe furiously to the beat and want to get up and dance like I was a sugar laden 12 year old. The follow up, `Swing', sort of feels like a rapid deceleration on a long stretch of higway. While by no means a bad song, it never grows or builds in a way that other tracks do. Sadly, it's followed up by another misstep in `Everything Up [Zizou].' While it does bring things back up to a more amenable tempo, the song's melody is only marginally catchy and the vocals fail to impress.
Dropping back down to a slower tempo, `Pop Art Blue' swims into the listener's cerebral cortex with an influx of staccato notes and an infectious vocal track. This is probably the most `true' musical track of the lot, in that it feels the least engineered and tinkered with. This is probably also the major weakness of this track: it doesn't feel very deep.
The following track, `Medicine Man', rejuvenates the play list with a technopop-and-hip-hop tonic of bubbly goodness with an overdub choral track that is "simply outrageous." This is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album as it is just a great song to listen to under any circumstance.
Rounding the bend, we head into what can only be described as Zero 7's most unconventional song of the entire album: Ghost sYMBOL. If you like Zero 7's previous work, be prepared to hate this song outright. It's the most `Goa' of anything heard up to this point. Consider a song constructed around a vocal track that has been deformed and detuned past the point of what a human can actually produce. Then, flank it with a collection of pops and plucks, analogue and digital pads, and a base built in warmth and energy that bounces back and forth from one eardrum to the other. Call this Zero 7 in their blue period. It's a crazy track for the senses and the total opposite of easy listening.
If you've come out of that song with your head still attached, you'll be more than primed for Sleeper. A mid-range BPM drum-track driven engineering du-jour where the vocal track takes a noticeable back seat to Zero 7 layering as many sounds on top of each other as possible. It's a bit like looking into a photo containing an invisible 3d image: if you squint hard enough, you'll be get a glimpse into something special - but it might leave you with a bit of a headache if you've never tried it before.
Sadly, the last three songs don't do much to wrap up the album on a high note. Solastalgia is a short confusion that does less to refresh the aural palette than to make us wonder which Zero 7 created this strange track: the old duo or the new. The question is quickly answered by the downtempo return to form called "The Road", which could have easily been mistaken for a track on any of their previous records. The sad thing is that "The Road" is neither as deep or as interesting as anything they've already constructed on those previous albums. Last, and certainly least, `All of Us' ends the disc with a 6-minute vocal-less romp through obscurity. It's not techno. It's not drum'n'bass. It doesn't really fit anywhere. `What the hell is it, then?'
Clearly, it's the definition of what this album is: an experiment. It's a gutsy test, one that doesn't always succeed. But there is a lot on this album that is worth admiring, including the team behind it. Zero 7 has cracked a barrier in their own musical evolution: their own hype. Sure, the most loyal of Zero 7's fans will probably hate it. But if you can forget that it's a Zero 7 album for just a few moments, you might find something there that's worth appreciating.
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