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Zero 7 

When It Falls (Palm Pictures)

Wednesday, Jun 2 2004
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Air's sundown set at Coachella last month was reportedly a make-out fest of epic proportions. With spring decidedly in the air even here in San Francisco, one hopes that the sultry/sun-kissed/ slow-jammy sounds of England's Zero 7 will inspire similar face-sucking -- if only to counterbalance the tedious politeness of the former trip-hop combo's updated snoozy nu-soul. Like Air, Zero 7 is fond of gauzy keyboards and '70s soft-rock touches, but Zero 7 has neither Air's quirky sense of sound design nor the French duo's knack for genuinely catchy songs. The literally titled "Warm Sound," the lead cut from Zero 7's new album, When It Falls, sums up what's wrong with the band's treacly approach: cloying keyboards, bazillion-part harmonies, and a sound so stiflingly "atmospheric" that you're looking to crack a window before the chorus even hits.

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Philip Sherburne

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