Zero 7 - Yeah Ghost
Record Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: September 28, 2009
Yeah Ghost is Zero 7's fourth studio album, which sees electronica duo Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker attempt a reinvention. There is always a risk when bands do this: will they alienate their existing fans or will fans see it as a progression and something to be admired? As well as this, will the new material attract a new generation of listeners? While 2006's The Garden presented a more organic acoustic approach in their songwriting, Yeah Ghost is a major shift in production.
In this release they weave in and out of genres from the lilting summery ballads such as the gorgeous "Swing" and "Pop Art Blue", to dark and brooding sounds such as "Ghost Symbol" and "All of Us". The effect, for the most part, is quite off-putting and disjointed. "Ghost Symbol", while certainly different, is more of an experiment with Pro Tools than anything worthy of inclusion as an album track, while after the first minute and a half of "All of Us", I'm bored and ready to switch off. The track picks up a bit in the second half, but like at least half the album, it is still repetitive and self-indulgent. There is a general feeling that Zero 7 ran out of ideas on some of the tracks, creating unnecessary minutes of filler to pad the album out.
It's a shame because there are some true gems to be found among a varied bunch. "Medicine Man" is catchy fun electronica and like nothing else on the album, if maybe suffering from being at least a minute overlong. "Mr. McGee" is similar in rhythm, yet not quite up to the same standard. "Swing" and "Pop Art Blue", as already mentioned are excellent and should be on a far better album than this. Finally "The Road" is perfect and would have made a great album closer instead of the pointless plodder "All of Us". So that's five out of eleven tracks ranging from good to excellent and well worth listening to. The rest should have been left on the cutting room floor.
Zero 7 certainly have the talent and originality, but it's misplaced on this album. I'm sure one day they will create a masterpiece as good as their terrific debut Simple Things. Sadly this is not it.
Yeah this CD bummed me out, Simple Things, The Garden, and When It Falls went SO off. "In Time", "Destiny", "Somersault", - some of the best songs of the decade. I was so glad to not see Sia as a collaborator on this cd. Her voice can get annoying. Sophie Barker is by far the best singer they've worked with. If she came back for a couple tracks then I think that would set the formula straight.
Great review, as a GIGANTIC Zero 7 fan, I had the exact same reaction after listening to these new ones.