Website: Zero 7
The Inside Pulse:
England’s own Zero 7 returns to the scene with their third album, The Garden. Comprised of folky pop with the occasional dives into psychedelica and hints of R&B, their unique sound spans from perky, upbeat melodies to meandering, subdued tones. A variety of vocalists — two male, one female — trade off solo as well as collaborate among the twelve tracks. It’s an adventurous effort, distinctive from current alt-rock and pop trends, but without venturing over the banks of the bizarre.
Positives: Wonderfully ear-catching are “This Fine Social Scene,” “Throwing It All Away,” and “The Pageant of the Bizarre,” all taking a stripped-down approach to traditional brit-pop. Throughout the album, vocalist Sia Furler emotes tastefully even though her voice could potentially be overpowering; Destiny’s Child, take notes. Certainly, there is nothing to be heard throughout The Garden that is not sonically pleasant. Every arrangement is expertly blended, be it for male voice, female voice, or both.
Negatives: So many forgettable tracks, so little time. Even after multiple listens, at least half the tracks are difficult to recall. When they get it right, they get it right. Unfortunately, that only happens a small handful of times on The Garden; in the world of pop, that’s a death knell.
Cross-breed: A little bit Air with a Blur undercurrent and a visit from Stevie Wonder.
Reason To Buy: There’s nothing repugnant about the album, but if you’re just looking for something pleasant to fill the air, this is your soundtrack. Just don’t expect to be humming much of it after you turn it off.