Zero 7 Simple Things Review

BBC Review

...their music is way beyond the monikers of 'chill out' or 'ambient', it is soul food...

Christian Hopwood 2002

Triumphant performances at this year's Big Chill and Shepherds Bush Empire combined with the nomination of Simple Things in this year's Mercury Music Prize are shaping the perfect summer for Zero 7. Combining the musical heritage of Ray Charles and Quincy Jones with the last ten years of house and electronica, Zero 7's blend of spacious, soulful jazz/funk is without doubt one of the finest releases of the year.

Prior to the album's release in April they attracted the attention of Gilles Peterson, amongst others, who enlisted their skills to remix Terry Callier's "Love Theme From Spartacus" and in addition, producer and friend Nigel Godrich asked them to remix "Climbing Up The Walls" for Radiohead. Faith in their abilities has been rewarded with a record that will force many to reassess the bench mark in British music.

Unlike the fifteen piece (yes, it does take that many musicians to recreate the sound) band employed for their stunning live show, Zero 7 are principally a duo, namely Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns. From North London, both studied sound engineering and sharpened their production skills before making the decision to break out on their own.

In piecing the record together Sam and Henry have pulled together some exceptional vocal talent, providing diversity to the recording as well as the live outing. Mozez, who on tracks "I Have Seen" and "Simple Things" demonstrates a sweet, soul delivery that will please fans of Marvin Gaye and Maxwell alike. The distinctive, dulcet tones of Australian born Sia Furler embellish the lush instrumentation of "Distractions" with more husk than a wheat field whilst the vocal partnership with the sublime and as yet unsigned Sophie Barker on "Destiny" soar on a summer thermal to new heights.

Characterised by Rhodes piano, sweeping strings and gentle, parping brass their music is way beyond the monikers of 'chill out' or 'ambient', it is soul food from the lounge room at the end of the universe. Ignore any comparisons you might read or hear about this band, whatever they are they won't do Zero 7 any justice, the only thing that will is your undivided attention. A must have.

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