Zero 7 is one of those bands whose albums I’ll buy with my eyes closed, no matter what. Heck, I think I’d buy their albums even if I was deaf…
Hardaker and Binns simply can do no wrong.
Their latest offering is no exception to this rule, at least for me, but I think some fans might be a bit turned off by Yeah Ghost, an album that is a far cry from the 70’s sheen of Simple Things. But if those fans are turned of by this album, they were probably into Zero 7’s music for the wrong reasons.
On Yeah Ghost, Hardaker and Binns have captured the Zeitgeist in their very personal way, and the result is nothing short of flabberghasting.
Weird rhythms and time signatures at much faster tempos than what they have habituated us to, yet none made straightforwardly for the dancefloor; melodic hooks that are often played on strident synths rather than by lush orchestrations (which doesn’t mean they are not beautiful); a new vocalist that goes by the name Eska who can at times sound like Alice Russell and at others like The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson and even, sometimes, like both Sia and Sophie Barker, who she “replaces” on Yeah Ghost. All these things contribute to the very peculiar atmosphere that radiates from this album.
I bought it just yesterday and I must admit I didn’t much enjoy my first listen: I was merely intrigued enough to want to give it a second go, which I did a few hours later while sitting down to do a quick translation contract.
And then it hit me. Hard.
Yeah Ghost is an album of intense luminosity, but true to its creator’s habits, it doesn’t try to blind you or flash its lights at you. One has to seek the beauty that lies right there, before your eyes, but requires you adjust your point of view a little. Once you lean into it a bit, it becomes by far the most rewarding album these guys have put out.
Not to take away anything from the other three, it’s simply that this album actually helps you realize how different each of the others was from the one before, even in all their similitude.
If Zero 7 stopped producing today, they could go away knowing that history will remember them as the band who reinvented itself for each of their albums. Now, how many bands can pretend to such a title?
Below are two tracks that you can download (Pop Art Blue and Everything Up, which I’m merely reposting from other sites that were officially giving them away), and a third that is, to me, quite representative of the album’s atmosphere (but that you can’t download, All of Us).
All of Us