As a major fan of Zero 7, I feel that Henry and Sam have exceeded all expectations with their third album 'The Garden'. Their trademark sound has 'graduated', with more sublime harmonies and upbeat rhythms, while maintaining the lush chords and strings so present on their first two albums. The lyrics are entertaining, intellectual, and lucid...and several musical styles are explored (i.e. shuffle, scat). The addition of Jose Gonzales' placid vocals is the perfect complement to Z7. The standout track 'Today', featuring Jose, evokes nostalgic 60's bossa nova vibes, while 'Crosses' is reminiscent of early Alan Parsons Project. Sia Furler is at her best, doing vocals on 6 tracks, with Henry Binns in perfect sync doing backing vocals on several.
Zero 7's slight variation in style from their first two albums is at first intriguing, and with repeated listening, becomes more captivating and addictive. The horn arrangements in tracks such as 'Your Place' and 'Waiting To Die' are pure big-band bliss, with the latter track closing the album and offering an ironically humorous and upbeat perspective on our own mortality by celebrating living.
This album will reward you. My advice...BUY it, Enjoy it, and reward the people in your life that make you feel good to be alive by bringing them with you into 'The Garden'.
Henry and Sam...if you ever read this...please never stop making music.