Warm, soulful and so damn cool! Metal heads would say downright dull but I beg to differ. Zero 7, much like the excellent Bent have made modern music interesting again. My son is 18, I'm 44 and we both love this stuff.
This album (much like its predecessor) - has that 'can't-put-your-finger-on-it'quality. Something almost unfathomable. You know you like it but you're not sure why. Other reviewers have said they can't take it out of their CD player, and addictive stuff it is because it's so different - as is each track to one another. The use of different vocalists helps (all excellent) but the music itself is such that you never know what's coming next.
Apparently the guys hate being referred to as chill-out specialists, but I don't see that as a criticism. If they keep doing stuff like this, I for one will be happy.
High points? The groovy 'Passing By' and the quirky but almost anthemic 'Speed Dial No.2'.
Lows? None-you'll play it again and again with never a dull moment.
Highly recommended, as is the earlier 'Simple Things' - you may also want to get Bent (sorry!)
on 4 November 2004
"When it Falls", Zero 7's sophomore album, is a soulful mindstream of aural ambrosia. Upon initial examination, it seems to step away the chill-out vistas of the "Simple Things" debut, but contains a more accomplished and refined selection of songs. If you loved the first album, you might find yourself at little at sea (initially). But with patience, every one of these songs starts to take on its own personality, not merely chilling you out, but recreating an atmosphere that is at once nostalgic and otherworldly, familiar but alien. From the opening track, Warm Sound, which is very much a reincarnated "I Have Seen", we are in a foetal sac of ultra-pleasant grooves, right up to the finale, "Morning Song". The lyrics are typically Zero 7, remote and ambiguous, but always eminently personal and appealing to the heart. This is less a soundtrack album than a songbook album; these tracks will snuggle into your deepest mind, and gently unfurl themselves when you are, say, in the shower, or stirring your hot chocolate. We all love AIR, but let us give Zero 7 the credit they deserve for these songs, which are truly from a different place: a beautiful, summery river of sound.
The sophomore slump hits Zero 7 in their second album, "When It Falls." Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns create a fairly pleasant mesh of downtempo jazz and trip-hop ambience, but their major failure is monotony -- there are few highs or lows in this pleasant if unmemorable album.
The mellow montony of the well-named "Warm Sound" sets off the tone of the album, echoed in the vague "Over Our Heads," spacey title track, and mellowly uninviting "In Time." Unfortunately, these are the most likely to send listeners to sleep -- musically, they possess plenty of beauty and sweetness, and have a distinct polish. But they don't have anything that makes you sit up and take notice.
But the less ambient songs display a little more oomph. There are also forays into ambient folkiness in the low-key "Home", the acoustic and the harmonica-electronica of "Look Up." Some pure trip-hop even seeps in with the jazzy "Passing By," with its mellow singing and faint electronica swips and sweeps.
The primary flaw of "When It Falls" is that it neither rises nor falls -- it's more of a straight line with some gentle bumps and dips. It's more downbeat than their debut album, a little more pensive and laid-back. But one particular highlight is the vocals: Sia Furler and Sophie Barker's sensuous voices, as well as the deeper, soulful voice of Mozez.
Zero 7 does well in melding trip-hop and mellow ambience with jazz and folk. If you can wrap your mind around the idea of harmonica and electronica in the same song, it should be right for you. Guitar riffs aren't very impressive. But the string section is the most accomplished and polished, with violins darting in and out of the music against a faint percussion backdrop.
While often relegated to arty makeout music, Zero 7 is pleasant enough, even when not getting cuddly. It's just that in their sophomore album they get a little too mellow for their own good.
on 17 March 2004
First let me just say that with Windows Media Player 9.0, I have had no problems with playing this on my PC, or doing anything else with this CD (if you get my drift!). I just chose not to install anything when prompted to do so.
Now to the music. Bearing in mind that Simple Things (the first album) is my favourite of all time (Pretty good considering i have around 3000 CDs) I was clearly setting high standards for this release. I was disappointed on first listen, it didn't grab me.
BUT after presevering - this really is a stunning album, which I now rate as highly as Simple Things. It does feel like an extension of Simple Things and the 2 albums together would make a fantastic double CD masterpiece. However, it is subtly different and I think that is the point.
Beautiful songs, beautifully sung, sublimely arranged and produced, but Hardaker and Binns have pushed the envelope a little. Stand out track is "The Space Between" which just makes your brain stop and your ears listen. "In Time" really does sound like a cover of a James Taylor track (it's not!) from Sweet Baby James or Mud Slide Slim. "When It Falls", "Home", "Morning Song" & "Warm Sound" contain some of the most incredibly soothing music and arrangements you are ever likely to hear.
The really cool things here are the mild musical references all over the place; early 70's film music, the "Ode to Billy Jo" strings on "Look Up", folky echoes on "Home", "Passing By" & "Somersault".
No duff tracks - very very good, especially if you like "Simple Things". By the way give Sia Furler's album "Colour The Small One" a go - not as rich, musically, as anything by Zero 7, but beautiful, sparse and moving.
on 27 March 2005
I can honestly say, this is a beautiful album. I've owned it for over a year now, and I never get tired of listening to it. The album stirs so many feelings and emotions from track to track. Songs such as "warm sound", are pure sunshine, warm and rich with rasping flutes, that send tingles up my spine. Whereas others such as "home" and "the space between" have darker brooding undertones. The rich combination and diversity of beautiful vocals, gentle strumming, warm trumpets and flute, rolling rhodes organ solo's seem to creep under the skin, and fill your soul.
Although zero 7 are often considered "chill out" they are so much more than that, they are a very talented band, and seeing them live proves it.
Buy the album and give it a chance, because it really is beautiful.
on 16 March 2004
If you like the first offering by this band, Simple Things, then you should definitely purchase the follow up, When It Falls.
The great thing about this album is that it's not entirely different to the first. Yes, it maybe a bit more mature, but that's only a good thing as far as I'm concerned. If you also own Zero7's Another Late Night album, you'll definitely see the influences in When It Falls.
From the very start this album offers melancholic, chilled out sounds, with Speed Dial No.2, The Space Between and Morning Song, being exceptional individual pieces in their own right, along with the previously released single, Home of course.
In fact, this album is so good that the only time I've taken it out of my CD player is after reading the reviews complaining about copy protection - and that was only to copy it! Oh, and yes I have been able to copy it using WMP9 without a problem!
I would definitely recommend this album to anyone, all of my housemates love it, and believe me they're tastes are so different to mine!
on 16 January 2004
Zero 7 return with a beautiful 2nd album, proving that this band have found a distinctive and unique sound that they are comfortable with and so are we. On first listen, it all sounds very familiar, the only difference is that you are not singing along... yet.
The Rhodes keyboard drifts through the whole album, and shines on the Instrumental "When it Falls". The Production is flawless, and the vocals sparkle, with Sia Furler returning with her lovely soulful tone. Bins and Hardaker have excelled themselves with, what should be a number one album.
I have heard Zero 7 described as "Nu-Soul for the Post Club Generation" a description I personally do not like, as it makes me feel old, but then again the vocal arrangements on "In Time" do remind me of Fleetwood Mac !
There are points on the album where the Zero 7 boundaries are pushed, but only slightly. The bridge of "Passing by" hints at directions they could go and "Look up" demonstrates they are more than capable over writing more up beat tunes. They should feel more confident to take more chances with their music, and I am sure their fans will go with them.
The album ends is the astonishing "Morning Song" which matchs, if not surpasses 'End Theme' the climax of 'Simply Minds.' It all leaves you with that warm cosy feeling you expect from Zero 7. This band has so much more in them, if you are a fan or new to Zero 7 buy this album. But just do not except any surprises.
on 21 March 2004
If, like me you were a huge fan of Zero 7's previous stunning debut "simple things" [which by the way, make sure you get the import version for the extra tracks, they're worth it alone] this new album, was an essential purchase.
At first listen, it didn't seem to stand up to the debut, but after seeing them in concert recently, it all came "home", much like the debut single for this album.
Sam & Henry, the core band members, have managed to continue a sound that somehow feels even more personal, yet remains open to everyone on so many levels.
This is an album that could reach & appeal to every one, but you just might not realise it yet...
If you're new to Zero 7 and appreciate a mellow, subtle sound, then start with their debut album. You won't be disappointed. If you're a Z7 fan, and are considering this purchase, in summary; it's heading on the same journey as Simple Things, but like any journey, it covers different ground.
It's a trip that shouldnt disappoint.
on 2 July 2013
'When It Falls' is the second studio album by Zero 7.
'When It Falls' follows the success of their critically acclaimed début album. Ironically, it was the following that amassed from this release that led many people to dig out the beauty of their first offering.
With the benefit of hindsight this is their best album and also a wonderful showcasing of Mozez,Sia,Sophie Barker and (newly in this release) Tina Dico. Play this album in the background at dinners or immerse yourself alone in its melancholy.
Most of the success is justifiably showered upon the vocalists but one cannot help feel sorry for Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker (the producers behind the Zero 7) that seem to take little credit and are instead garnished with plagiarism in respect to these frogs.
Sometimes you just have to stop comparing this to that and him to her and start to appreciate what is there in front of you; to step back and appreciate the beauty.
When it Falls is a sophisticated, sumptuous and seductive album. It is one of the most played and consistently enjoyable albums in my record collection. Binns & Hardaker build upon the sounds of Simple Things and present a collection of tracks that melt into each other. Other than the mild pick up in speed in 'Passing By' (akin to the acceleration of a Rover Metro full with the weekly shop) most of the album follows a very similar rhythm and structure. Like the previous release the tracks do better with vocalists easing a temperament with the instrumentation that frees up a playful yet restrained release in the outros (try the funky bassline in 'Passing By' that teasingly flexes its muscles towards the end). This does however leave the two instrumental tracks 'When It Falls'and 'Look Up' to under perform and potentially let down the album.
Despite being released three months earlier in the year this was the album that dragged most Sia fans into her weird and wonderful world. Her haunting Colour The Small One felt like a bonus CD and yet ironically drew out some frailties into the lack of diversity in Zero 7's sound.
Nevertheless whilst the record is fairly familiar throughout, it is stunningly consistent in standard. Most of the tracks exhibit a circular format where the mystery that smothers the opening sequence is brought back to consciousness in the closing bars and this veils the whole album in a delicious intrigue; dreamlike.
And so to the outro of 'Morning Song' and the whole album which ends with one of the most positive and uplifting finishes I can remember ever listening to; this really does feel like you are waking up from a twilight dream. The Rhodes keyboard that soaked the whole album is left out for the clarity of the piano as we are awoken from our dream and one by one each instrument returns in the musical equivalent a theatrical curtain call. I challenge you not to listen to the last couple of minutes of this album and not feel entirely compelled by the music.
Listen to: 'Home', 'Somersault', 'In Time', 'Morning Song'
on 4 March 2004
This 'CD' is copy protected. It doesn't work with iTunes.
It sounds like a blander version of the first album, will be great for adverts and dinner parties but not a lot else.