It has been three years since Zero 7’s last release The Garden and they return with Yeah Ghost, a marked change from their former trip-hop, lo-fi stylings.
It is not a comfortable or convincing evolution. Gone are the uncomplicated, agreeable and well constructed lounge of Simple Things replaced by what is essentially an average pop album. The albums opens with a melange of synths, an initial hint of the previous incarnation. As track two ‘Mr McGee’ enters, all pre-conceptions are destroyed and you begin to wonder, what ever happened to Zero 7?
I have to admit I always found that their music washed over me without leaving a trace. Their latest attempt does the same but leaves an unwelcome aftertaste. Sia Furler, one of the bands biggest assets is a notable absence from the album and though replaced by Eska Mtungwazi, she is not given the opportunity to shine.
Everything Up’s memorable beat and guitar line begins with purpose and is a welcome tune. ‘Pop ‘Art Blue’ shows hints of the past and is one of the albums highlights. Yet on Medicine Man, the duo let themselves down with a flimsy electro which sounds more like Mika than Zero 7. Sleeper is an unconvincing attempt at reproducing The Knife’s Swedish oddball electronica.
Though the bands new direction will no doubt appeal to a certain fanbase, for those who know and love the Zero 7 they fell for some years back may be surprised or, more likely, disappointed.