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Zero 7
Robert Lanham's Top
15 of 2001
(in order)

1. Ryan Adams - Gold
2. White Stripes: White Blood Cells [Sympathy for the Record Industry]
3. Jan Jelinek - Loop-Finding Jazz Records [~scape]
4. Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Ease Down the Road [Drag City]
5. Frank Black: Dog in the Sand [What Are?]
6. Stephen Malkmus: Stephen Malkmus [Matador]
7. Prefuse 73: Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives [Warp]
8. American Analog Set: Know by Heart [Tiger Style]
9. Jim O'Rourke: Insignificance [Drag City]
10. Múm: Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK (Thule)
11. Fennesz: Endless Summer [Mego]
12. Zero 7: Simple Things (Ultimate Dilemma)
13. Marumari: Supermogadon [Carpark]
14. Papa M: Whatever Mortal (Drag City)
15. Pole: R (~scape)

Worst album of the year -
Air: 10,000 Hz Legend

Best of the old -
Roy Lanham and the Whippoorwhills
Now that 2001 has come and gone and I have time to reflect about the year in music, I can say one thing with certainty, Air's 10,000 Hz Legend was the worst record of the year. It was truly a colossal piece of crap and only managed to alienate fans and make Moon Safari seem like an anomaly. I rushed to Kim's to get rid of the piece of crap as soon as I could. I think I got 2 bucks for it. I felt like I got a deal.

Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker, two Brits making up the band Zero 7 have made the follow-up to Moon Safari that fans of Air had been hoping for. The record has all the elements I'd come to expect from Air—moog keyboards, Muzak-inspired strings, soulful vocals, and lots of cheese—but the record is simply too pretty to disqualify as mere plagiary. In fact, their debut Simple Things has been in my disk player for nearly a week and at this rate I will still be hitting autoplay next week. It is quite an impressive first effort and I look forward to seeing what this band will do in the future.

To their credit, Zero 7 distinguish themselves slightly by displaying a stronger 70's soul influence than Air. The title track sounds like an Earth Wind and Fire outtake. They have chosen the very capable vocal talent of Mozez, Sia Furler, and Sophie Barker who consistently bring passion and energy to their respective pieces. Zero 7 have a knack for great songwriting and fluctuate seamlessly between the vocal and instrumental tracks throughout the album. The production is warm and full and you'll forgive the band immediately for any lack of originality.

This is great music that makes cheese fun. Hopefully the follow-up won't suck.

--Robert Lanham


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| January 2002 | Issue 22
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