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Three years after the release of their third album The Garden (with all its upbeat sonic pivots), UK trip-hop production duo Zero 7 have made a few constructive compromises between old and new sounds on their new album Yeah Ghost that most hardcore fans should find appealing. With a refreshing blend of galactic and earthy tones, core members Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns (along with sultry femme vocalists Eska Mtungwazi, Martha Tilston and Rowdy Superstar) offer plenty of high notes on this new release, making its stateside debut today.
You may have already gotten a taste of the album's fourth track "Everything's Up (Zizzou)", though it's icy, meandering synths aren't exactly a fair barometer of the entire album, even if Binns is handling half the vocals on this one. The album's second track "Mr. McGee" (some title, huh?) captures a dancier Garden-esque sound with searing vocal delays and driving beats. The fact that it follows the washy, esoteric opener, "Count Me Out", should let you know that interesting contrasts are afoot here.
Though they are often boxed in by the trip hop label (as evidenced by our opening description above) their most captivating sounds on Yeah Ghost deal with their more worldly sounds. Like the Northern Soul-inspired meter of "Medicine Man", a surefire toe-tapper, or the antiquated strumming and xylophone riffage of "Swing" with it's shimmering vocal overlays. It's definitely a standout track that is probably a little less Zero 7-ish than you're used to, if that makes sense.
But then they really go all out with the spacey joint-puffing bliss on the last track "All of Us", over six minutes of futuristic drum slams and trippy beats that bleed into computer burbling with tribal chants, lasers, and gongs. Yes, know that's the Zero 7 you know and love. Check out the full album streaming for free on their MySpace page.