Zero 7 - Yeah Ghost (Universal)

Michael Shelton | Monday, 03 August 2009

Zero 7 - Yeah Ghost (Universal)

Despite being on their fourth album, Zero 7 have yet to match the chilled out beauty of 'Destiny' and 'In The Waiting Line' from debut album Simple Things. However, their ability to pick and choose different collaborators has always produced a wide spectrum of sound.

New album 'Yeah Ghost' continues this trend. The album lurches from percussion wonders to tracks that could have been recorded in a teenager's bedroom. Their vocal guests are also so wonderfully named (from Rowdy Superstar to Eska Mtungwazi), that they should almost have their own tracks named after them.

'Count Me Out' opens the album with an orchestral sound check. It sounds as if all the instruments are stretching out, warming up for the event ahead. 'Fever', where a beautiful soul voice is accompanied by a modern beat, kicks off the album proper and would not sound out of place alongside its Peggy Lee namesake.

'Get Us Down' leads off with an accordion, which is not as bad as it sounds. The childlike vocals combined with a percussion and handclap accompaniment give the feeling of being at a child's carousel. Adding in steel drums and a mouth organ, even Badly Drawn Boy's Damon Gough would struggle to merge so many instruments together seamlessly.

'Pop Art Blue' takes a fantastical view of a relationship flying at its best point. Like a journey with Superman, it travels with the sky at an effortless rate, yet is utterly chilled. The snare drum and acoustic guitar merge well with the fantastical lyrics "we were climbing cartoon treetops into the sky."

'Zizou' is less successful; feeling like it was produced on a cheap keyboard in a bedroom. The deep bassy tune becomes boringly repetitive and the male vocals fail to life the song. Similarly, 'Ghost Symbol' could be an underground dance track, thanks to its uncohesive tune and soulless lyrics. Meanwhile, 'The Road' is a great improvement. With Cajun-sounding lyrics, a gospel backing singers and a tune that has a hint of 'Amazing Grace', it is an instant chill out success. A perfect song to counter any hangover.

The album meanders, especially in the second half, but there's no doubt that Zero 7's brand of original chilled out music and gorgeous vocals has been missed.

Rating: 3/5