Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Review: Zero 7 - Yeah Ghost

What's most noticeable about "Yeah Ghost", Zero 7's fourth studio release, is the absence of long-time guest vocalist Sia Furler. Sia, who by some is seen as the band's third member, didn't make an appearance as she is currently working on her next album "We Are Born", due April 2010. Although Zero 7 had initial plans to record something less vocal-dependent, obviously they have decided to stick to their collaborative projects the band is best known with. "Yeah Ghost" is somewhere in between the downtempo vibe Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker transmitted through their first two albums and a more up-beat clever electronica with a pinch of various genres brought together by the ensemble of guest vocalists.

"Yeah Ghost" easily distinguish itself from Zero 7's previous releases, as it incorporates a more club-orientated sound with a jazzy twist. I don't consider this a stylistic shift, but more of experimenting in new directions. The presence of new guest vocalists allows the band to explore other fields of interest, thus the variety of songs. "Ghost Symbol" reminds me of a Fever Ray outtake, "Sleeper" and "Medicine Man" could easily be mistaken as under the Basement Jaxx umbrella, and "Everything Up (Zizou)" could pass as a softer Calvin Harris. I am not saying that the duo ran out of ideas and decided on patching up material from other musicians. Not at all, more like they needed to step out of their comfort zone and make a few steps out of line, no matter if they tripped over or even flopped down to the bottom. After all music has to be defying, bold and constantly evolving and "Yeah Ghost" is the challenge that Zero 7 have to face themselves.

Songs to hear: "Ghost Symbol", "Mr McGee", "Medicine Man" and "Everything Up (Zizou)"

Personal rating: 8/10