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4.1 out of 5 stars13
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 29 June 2010
Zero 7 have divided opinion greatly in recent times, alienating many fans that were drawn in by their luscious, layered and unpretentious melodies of the first two albums, 'Simple Things' and 'When It Falls'. Their last album and indeed tour disappointed the vast majority of their fans, turning their back on their successful formula, losing the vocalists that had defined the band, and heading off into a new, harsher direction with 'Ghost'.
This compilation, taking tracks from all their EPs and albums is anachronistic. Zero 7 have never particularly been a singles band. Thus tracks from 'Ghost' jar greatly when put alongside the mellowness of tracks from the first two albums. I tried to put together a 'best of' Zero 7 playlist on my ipod but it just didn't work, and neither really does this. Merging tunes from the first two albums, works - not the last two......... which is a shame as they remain one of the most influential bands from the early noughties and deserve more popular acclaim.
I suppose this will be a marmite collection - there will be some songs you will love, and others you will hate, depending on whether Ghost floated your boat or not.
If you have never listened to their music before, this is not a good starting point in my opinion. Listen to the first two albums, as there are great tracks from there not included in this album, and see how Ghost sits with you after that!
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The BBC review of this album postulated that Zero 7 had a quality of producing "music for middle-class dinner parties attended by bored couples" (although they also dismantled this theory). But with hindsight there is quality about Zero 7 and their music that did seem to fit that time when every restaurant conversation seemed to start with an update on how the price of your house had risen that week and wasn't it wonderful that we had abolished boom and bust. Zero 7 seemed to soundtrack those times. They oozed minimalism, confidence and an air of wealth with their ambient sophistication and cool demeanour. People raved about them and as you will see from the reviews of Zero 7's Mercury nominated 2001 album "Simple things", out of 68 Amazon reviewers 59 rated this album 4 star or over and the word "sublime" is used alot. Things have changed and interest has clearly diminished while the other key factor if truth be told is that the band never really matched their debut.

While the follow up "When it falls" was excellent the third "The Garden" was less so and their fourth album "Yeah Ghost" was a stinker. Similarly darker days, deficits and debts are the talk of the town and fashions have shifted; what was once uber cool can now feel uber dated and nobody wants to talk about house prices anymore! All of which is a pity because those early songs especially the wonderful trio of "Destiny", sung brilliantly by the sultry Australian diva Sia, the excellent "Waiting Line" and the soulful "I have seen" are genuinely some of the best songs of the era. Later songs like "Home" and "Futures" featuring Jose Gonzalez repeated the feat and are mellow classics. It was little wonder therefore that the two key musicians driving the Zero 7 project, Sam Hardaker and Henry Binns became crowned the British version of "Air" whose "Moon safari" is a distant cousin to much of their work. Unfortunately the inclusion of songs here from "Yeah ghost" ("Mr McGee" sees the band trying too hard to be Basement Jaxx and "Everything up" just plain boring) add very little to this "Best Of" and one wonders where is the great version of "Crosses" with Jose Gonzales and their wonderful remix of Lampchop's "Up with the people"? Still this is a decent compilation by a band that when you listen more closely have real substance and a nice dark edge, all they need now is a housing boom.
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on 23 August 2013
'Record' is a compilation of tracks from UK's down-tempo aficionados Zero 7

Despite their more senile adversities towards the end of their 10 year stint, Henry Binns & Sam Hardaker, better known collectively as Zero 7, could potentially be two of the most influential musicians to come out of the noughties.

Let me set the scene: Take it easy and unwind in a beach bar where little-fluffy-clouds dust the horizon and just Offshore the sun beats down on The Sea. It's time to Slip Into Something More Comfortable. To say that this particular genre/fad became saturated would be a complete understatement. It wasn't too long before St Germain et al. invaded our dinner parties. Think bread dipped in olive oil.

Binns & Hardaker's Rhodes infused plagiarism was not spectacularly unique and yet Zero 7 had managed to cultivate a sound of nostalgic warmth that was unrivalled. Negatives associated with downtempo would usually refer to the looping of samples, repetitive melodies and mind-numbingly humdrum lyrics; associations that are impossible to make with Zero 7. A certain air of sophistication set the band head and shoulders above it's peers. Their first two offerings Simple Things (April 2001) and When It Falls (March 2004) are simply stunning. The production value is of the highest order and the showcased artists are wonderful in their own eccentricities (Mozez, Sia, Sophie Barker, Tina Dico, Jose Gonzalez). It only took the band two albums to realise that there wasn't much room left in Cafe Del Mar. Not that there was anything wrong with what they did. Their third album detour, The Garden (May 2006), was splendid in its own unique and off-beat quirkiness, maintaining prior vocalists but accelerating their pace. With the benefit of hindsight, Zero 7 should have stopped there; fourth (and final) album Yeah Ghost (September 2009) was garishly awkward.

This anachronic collection attempts to stitch together a rather patchy career. Where each of the first three albums excelled within their own ambience, this compilation will fail in attempting to juxtapose. Tracks that seamlessly blended in harmony in their original state now bop around aimlessly. And by association, latter tracks from 'Yeah Ghost' (which somehow comprise of 20% of the whole 'best of'?!) contaminates their earlier work.

Polaris / Everything Up [Zizou] / Home (tracks 6-8) I can only compare to a Cucumber Sandwich.

On their own, there are of course some fantastic tracks on this compilation - but as is the issue with a lot of 'Best Ofs' the tracks sound much better in their natural habitat. And on these merits I cannot give this album a high rating as it's a simply an attempt to cash-in a little bit more on the success of their first two or three records - an attempt that is stained by the inclusion of the toe-curling Yeah Ghost tracks. That this 16 track 'best of' only includes two tracks from 'When It Falls' (their best record in my opinion) is enough to push my rating down to one star.

Poor form on the Mezzanine artwork rip-off. And this strange obsession with Zinedine Zidane is not quirky or cool, its just plain weird(!):

"It begins with a roll of the shoulder, then a pirouette and a dip of the head, eyes almost glued to the feet. The Zidane Turn, the signature move of famed French-born soccer player Zinedine Zidane, is truly one of the most extraordinary dance steps of modern times, remaining on a soccer field and kept off the world's dance floors purely by the fact that only one man can do it"..... (me neither)

If you are new to the band, do yourself a favour and start where they did. And then tune off before they did. An awkward end to an otherwise impressively suave collection.
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on 23 December 2013
I have The Garden and Simple Things which I really like . This has only got a few new tracks on it
so is a bit of a waste of money just a rehash of songs they have already done. I play zero seven a lot on the commute home as it chills me out. By the way I am not bored and have never attended a dinner party - middle class or not!
I would recommend them for this but wouldn't want to see them live.
Its your decision you either buy it or you don't simples!
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on 6 September 2010
this is the album i have been waiting for, great relaxing tracks, and the best of zero 7, makes you to want to explore them further if you have not had the experience of listening to them before!
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on 8 January 2015
Compilation of their 'other albums' (which I already have, DOH ...)

Hadn't realised this prior to purchase, if you have the albums the only new track here is Salt Water Sound.
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on 15 September 2011
I was in debate between this an simple things therefore, I bought both. I thought I would have like simple things more out of the two however, I preferred this album. It's a good lil album to chillout too and I enjoyed the majority of it, nice work overall.
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on 18 January 2015
Excellent chill-out album.
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on 28 July 2015
Superb album
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on 5 June 2013
Not the list of the best songs by Zero 7I would have selected but class is class and this is it
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