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2001 debut full length for dance act described as, 'the British Air', the follow-up to two limited, critically acclaimed EPs. Highlights include the awesome African influenced instrumental passage 'Likufanele', the velvety 'I Have Seen' feat. Mozez & the quiet storm of 'Destiny' feat. Sia.
Zero 7's ability to conjure beautiful lullabies with all the romance of 1960s French pop (as found on their debut LP, Simple Things) would have made them the toast of soundtrack composers and chill-out connoisseurs the world over. Unfortunately, two Frenchmen beat Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker to the title of "masters of comedown cool," leaving the London duo to be forever called "the British Air." And this is fair; the similarities between Zero 7's lush cinematic soundscapes and those of Air's Moon Safari and the Virgin Suicides score are so strong as to sound almost intentional. Nonetheless, their debut is a truly gorgeous album. It has all the tried and tested atmospheric tricks--bleeps and whooshes layered over plodding Fender Rhodes chords, swathes of strings and tender trumpet parps--but it's Binns and Hardaker's languid grooves and the soft melancholy of their melodies that make dream-state instrumentals "Give It Away" and "Polaris" utterly enchanting. The real power of Simple Things, however, is in its songs. As beautiful as the ambient strains are, when laid beneath the seductive vocals of Australian diva Sia on the ethereal "Destiny" or the heart-breaking "Distractions," their potency becomes apparent. --Dan Gennoe
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Top Customer Reviews
After many years of waiting through the album has finally seen a modern re-issue, on 180 gram vinyl, and I have to say it is utterly spectacular. This is hands down one of the best sounding records I've bought in quite some time. No pops, no clicks, no surface noise. The vinyl plays so cleanly you'd think it was on CD. I find a lot of modern re-issues tend to be flawed. There's been plenty of discs I've bought that are noisy the first time I drop the needle on the record. Not so here. It sounds glorious.
If you are a fan of the album this is a must purchase. Your sound system will thank you.
There are a number of styles explored on the album, which can be categorized in two large subdivisons - with vocals and with out. The vocal songs mainly feature male singer Mozez who stars on the albums opening disco-lounge track "I Have Seen", the absolutely amazingingly mysterious title track, and the sultry ballad "This World".
The two female vocalists are quite similar sounding, as noted on the stunningly addictive "Destiny" where they share lead vocals. The sound of Sia Furler and Sophia Barker's voices is accented softly with both a British sound, and almost a southern twang, but no worries their voices are like liquid on all the songs they sing. Furler returns on one of my fave tracks on the album "Distractions" a sweet love-ish ballad, while Barker is given the slightly weaker "In The Waiting Line" which shows the difference in the two girls voices as they are back to back, although Barker recuperates on the closing track "Spinning".
Within the non-vocal tracks the guys that make up our beloved band in question experiment with 1970's synthesized porno beats and keyboard sounds, mixed with smooth bass, acoustic guitars, and elegant strings, and of course that "air" sound that has led them to be labelled as "british air".Read more ›
The prize here may be the spacey instrumentals, a clever blend of real drums and base mixed with electric keyboard and synthesizer. If you are a fan of smooth jazz such as Sade, you will probably enjoy this album. If you have't found anything you like in music since Kenny G, maybe this could find you a new groove. Sexy stuff.
First things first, many bitter fans claim this album is nothing more than a derivative of Air's "Moon Safari". I say: so what? They're both great albums, but I prefer this one far more than Moon Safari.
Why? Sia Furler. Her vocals are spellbinding, exquisite, and intimate all at once - like a window into her soul. "Destiny" is a song that never leaves my mind no matter how much music I listen to, and "In the Waiting Line" just relaxes everything in my body in a way no other song can. The best part of the cd is that the other vocals are almost as good, especially the female collaboration on "Distractions". "I Have Seen" is to laid back as to what "This World" is to pensive - quintessential.
"Spinning" and "Simple Things" provide more quality vocals, and "Red Dust" and "Give It Away" offer complimenting instrumentals.
The only reason this album doesn't get 5 stars are all the instrumentals - the album has a jarring feeling like it keeps going to commercial, cutting away from the main action of dynamic lyrics and harmonic interplay. Most of them are very good, but I don't particularly care for one or two.
However, I highly recommend this album - when I was introduced to it, I turned around and shread it with friends, and it quickly blazed through that circle as well. This album is enchanting and mystifying, especially for late night summer drives with the windows down and nothing on your mind but the tunes.
Most recent customer reviews
CD description accurate. Arrived Dec 31, all the way from the UK.Published 1 month ago by Ingrid L Hall
Am I the only one who sees that this Emperor has no clothes?! No new clothes, at least. This drippy cd rehashes every uninspired a.m. radio-soft-jazz tune you ever heard. Read morePublished on July 10 2004
I won't lie here: I origianlly came into contact with this music because i was looking through one of my friend's music collection on Itunes and thought the name Zero 7 sounded... Read morePublished on May 25 2004 by LJ101
This is pure brilliance! Every song. Every musician. Every vocalist. So Fresh. Reminds me of the freshness of Sade & Simply Red & Soul II Soul when they first came onto... Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by Scott C Elliott
I would give this one 5 stars if I loved ALL the songs. You cannot review everything youu love with 5 though. Read morePublished on May 4 2004 by Michael Storey
This CD is really great for just having in the background. It's really relaxing, and the songs just have an over all calming effect. I especially like #'s 1,2, and 12. Read morePublished on May 3 2004 by B. Mestek
If you don't own this cd yet, buy it now. This album is pure bliss, and has been in repeat mode in my stereo system (mp3 player, computer playlist, etc...) for a long time. Read morePublished on May 1 2004