Chart for stowaways – 9 November 2019

Here are the top albums this week:

  1. Hot Chip – A Bath Full Of Ecstasy
  2. Underworld – Drift Series 1
  3. Armin Van Buuren – Balance
  4. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
  5. Zero 7 – Record
  6. Röyksopp – Melody am
  7. Gary Numan/Tubeway Army – Replicas
  8. Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle
  9. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Souvenir
  10. The Beloved – Single File

Preview – Zero 7

Another belated preview here – Zero 7 may have entirely failed to provide us with a new album in the last decade, but they did get the old crew together for Aurora/Mono earlier this year, collaborating with José González on side A:

Retro chart for stowaways – 27 March 2004

These were the top ten albums, this week fourteen years ago:

  1. Air – Talkie Walkie
  2. Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  3. Dido – Life for Rent
  4. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  5. Zero 7 – When It Falls
  6. Deep Forest – Essence of the Forest
  7. Sugababes – Three
  8. Sparks – Lil’ Beethoven
  9. Kylie Minogue – Body Language
  10. Delerium – Chimera

Retro chart for stowaways – 15 May 2004

I’m off on my holidays at the moment, so here’s the album chart from twelve years ago this week!

  1. Air – Talkie Walkie
  2. Pet Shop Boys – PopArt
  3. Goldfrapp – Black Cherry
  4. Dido – Life for Rent
  5. Erlend Øye – Erlend Øye – DJ-Kicks
  6. Zero 7 – When It Falls
  7. Sugababes – Three
  8. Dubstar – Stars – The Best of Dubstar
  9. Bent – Programmed to Love
  10. Sparks – Lil’ Beethoven

Greatest Hits – Vol. 8

Every so often I like to take a little downtime and remind you about some of the posts that you might have missed recently. Here are a few…

Zero 7 – Simple Things

There are times when the world of music is a very fickle place – bands are pushed upon us because they sound like someone else, and then before you know it they’ve already disappeared again. So fifteen years ago, when Zero 7 released their debut album Simple Things, you could probably have been forgiven for thinking they were just imitating Air.

They have, of course, proved to have staying power, but on opening track I Have Seen, the influence – whether intentional or accidental – is very audible. It’s a great song actually, with a vocal quite unlike anything Air had done by this stage (they would have been onto their difficult second album 10,000 Hz Legend by now), but the middle section, three quarters of the way through, could have been lifted directly from Moon Safari.

Sounding a bit like Air is no bad thing, though, and Zero 7 quickly proved their worth, as gentle second track Polaris carries us to a very different place (although it could still comfortably fit on a certain French act’s releases) before the enormous hit single Destiny arrives.

It’s easy to see why this was such a huge hit, with an excellent vocal from Sia, it’s a beautiful uplifting piece, which would fit perfectly at the height of summer. Listening to the album version takes up five and a half minutes of your time, but it’s definitely time well spent.

This is a carefully crafted album, and so it would be unfair to view Give it Away as a filler track, but its function here seems to be to add to the atmosphere and mood, rather than particularly to introduce anything new. It’s still entirely pleasant though.

Simple Things is probably the first song on here to really introduce anything vastly different, with a particularly good vocal from Terry Callier, who had also performed on the opening piece. With a backing track free of most of the analogue warblings of earlier moments, it does stand out somewhat.

The even softer side of Zero 7 continues with Red Dust, before Sia turns up again to deliver a particularly moving vocal on Distractions, and then Sophie Barker also performs well on the lovely In the Waiting Line.

We then get another “filler” piece with Out of Town, but there’s little to dislike on here – a few of the pieces were clearly never going to be singles, but that’s OK. For every Likufanele there’s a This World that grabs you again and reminds you why Zero 7‘s debut is so great. Finally, the delightful End Theme turns up, bringing the release to a close in a very decisive manner.

Simple Things is a solid debut, and I should really apologise for mentioning Air so early in this review, except that I was clearly never going to get away without mentioning them. This album owes a lot to them, but also a lot to its exceptional guest vocalists and the musical genius of the people who crafted it.

You can still find Simple Things from all major retailers.