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When It Falls

Zero 7
When It Falls

Zero7 make trip-hop for those who don't want anything even slightly dark or oppressive in their music. They create hyper-sugary (yet also very lush) electronic pop without a touch of menace to shade things. When It Falls is their second full-length release, and while it will definitely win over those in the crowd just wanting to slightly dip their toes into the electronic pop bath, it will most likely bore most everyone else.

My above reaction is probably a bit on the harsh side, but after listening to the 11 tracks and well over an hour of music on this disc, I can't help but feel that I've heard literally all of it before. The biggest comparison that the group has drawn is to the French duo Air (especially their Moon Safari album), and that's pretty easy to hear on songs like the opener of "Warm Sound." As a completely quiet rhythm section rolls just slightly underneath, all sorts of outerspace synths buzz and strings swirl around flute and organs. A fellow named Mosez adds some Lionel Ritchie-esque vocals and the whole thing passes by without any huge dynamic changes or hooks to grab your ear.

It's probably unfair to dog the album for being so uneventful when the whole goal of the thing is to act as an aural narcotic, but when song after song on the release brush by at nearly the same exact tempo and there aren't any real peaks or valleys to speak of, it's hard to not let tracks all run together in your head. To be sure, it's all immaculately produced, and ocassionaly the blend of instrumentation is actually pretty dazzling. "Look Up" actually kicks things up slightly with a more live-drumming feel and some deftly strummed guitars over the swelling washes of sound, but it lays down the cheese factor about halfway through with a heartfelt harmonica solo. In the end, this is a perfectly passable release if you need something to play in the background at your next cocktail party or if you're a dentist looking for something to play in the background that's the opposite sound of teeth getting drilled. If you've been searching for the overlong cousin of the aforemention Air disc, you'll probably also find something to enjoy here, but if you're looking for anything even slightly challenging, please steer clear.

Rating: 3.75