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When It Falls

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Album Review

Downbeat acts proceed down the middle of the road at their own peril. While such a path may guarantee them a lucrative career in Starbucks outlets and on crossover compilations, the onset of advanced musicianship and mature songwriting often comes at the expense of artistic ability (see the steady downward fall of Groove Armada for an example). Zero 7, one of the few acts following in the wake of Air that had the talent to match, debuted with a record (Simple Things) that featured some of the warmest, most mellifluous tracks heard in electronic music since Moon Safari. When It Falls, their second record, finds the duo largely sticking to the same formula, with all the sinewy basslines and languorous vocals that follow along. As before, Zero 7 is more of a band than most downbeat acts, with credits for bass, guitar, and drums plus keyboards, brass, flute, and strings. Much of the record is nearly perfect downbeat, and the productions of Zero 7 main men Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns mesh perfectly with the instrumentation — so well, in fact, that the record threatens to sink into a nether region of pop music that's both flawless and harmless, more adult alternative than electronic pop. There's nothing wrong with that prospect, but when a downbeat act begins to emulate a pop act, the situation practically demands developed songs and tighter hooks. Unfortunately, only a few tracks here meet those criteria. Fortunately, though, they are beautiful indeed. On "Home," new addition Tina Dico summons the downy, pastoral yearning that's become de rigueur for downbeat female vocalists, and the returning Sia Furler shines on a track ("Somersault") that's simultaneously spacy and down-home. Sophie Barker, the star of Simple Things' "Destiny," returns for "In Time," one of the sweetest tracks Zero 7 has ever produced. The rest of the record, however, possesses very few of the unburnished edges needed by albums with character or personality. When It Falls reaches a nadir of sorts on "The Space Between," a pleasant song that unfortunately descends into self-parody over the course of its six minutes — two minutes of which are taken up by an overripe harmonica solo.

Customer Reviews

awesome chillout!

Zero 7 have to be the masters of chillout. This album gets me relaxed and de-stressed at any time. Just stick it on, close your eyes and get whisked away by their great soothing sound. A great album to listen to when all you wanna do is lie down and do nothing. I think the head on the album cover says it all.

Brilliant Zero 7 album.

This album is my third favourite Zero 7 LP because it has brilliant songs and my dad writes songs for Zero 7 & plays piano for Zero 7.My favourite songs on this album are Morning song,Speed dial no. 2 & Passing by.

One of the best albums ever!!

This album contains some of the most gorgeous, delicious and delightful music I think I have ever heard! I don't care whether its downtempo and chillout or electronica, it's just brilliant music! I have over 2000 CDs in my collection, ranging from jazz to classical to rock to pop to folk to electronic. I love music. Since I came across this album I haven't been able to stop playing it. I've played it hundreds of times, and I can't get bored with it, or if I do I leave for a couple of days and then come back to it. Some tracks on here are reminiscent of elements of Dark Side of the Moon, another all time favourite of mine. How far away is this supposed to be from that genre? Buy this album, play it while playing freecell or solitaire or doing something not so brain intensive, while listening to this just a touch loud with the equalizer on. You will become totally hooked on every track! My favourites are Warm Sound, which builds to such a great crescendo it makes my spine tingle, and Morning Song. Sometimes an album comes along that's so great, you just feel sorry for those people that never knew about it or ever got into it. This, for me, is it! It far surpasses Simple Things (another great album) and I haven't any other chillout or electronica, from Zero7 or anyone else, that surpasses it (and I have just about everything that's worth having). Sorry if I sound a little overeffusive about this album, but I simply just can't praise it enough!!!!


Formed: 1997 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The men behind the European downtempo outfit Zero 7 -- producers Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker -- launched their careers in the music industry as tea boys at a London recording studio. Shortly thereafter, however, both were in the thick of action, working alongside a string of well-known British musicians such as the Pet Shop Boys and Robert Plant. They spent the best part of the '90s honing their production skills behind the scenes. Then, after taking on the name of a nightclub in Honduras, the duo...
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When It Falls, Zero 7
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