Zero 7

When It Falls (Elektra)

 When It Falls sounds like an extension of a theme first explored on Zero 7's acclaimed debut, Simple Things. The electronic soul, produced by Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns, vibrates with warmth, and the vocalists, Sia Furler and Sophie Barker, burn slow elocution over it until the music becomes a mood, an expression. Their accompaniment, provided by several side musicians, is rich and textured, melding Hardaker and Binns' ambient, synthetic backgrounds with analog instruments such as organs and stringed instruments into a futuristic update of a Love Unlimited Orchestra excursion, all wandering and blissed out.

These rare groove love songs are impeccably rendered, yet don't stand up to the group's more fully realized debut. The choruses aren't as memorable as the minor hit "Destiny;" they feel perfunctory, an easy way to lend structure to a recording best consumed as a jam session from a superior, forward-thinking band. When It Falls' best track, "The Space Between," is free-form, with vocals by Tina Dico that elaborate on malaise and distance before fading into the background while the band plays on.

 
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