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Zero 7 - The Garden Review

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker have pared down Zero 7 to just themselves and singers Sia Furler and Jose Gonzalez, using elements of electronica, folk, psychedelia and jazz to come up with this lush daydream that references Renaissance, Steely Dan, the Alan Parsons Project and many others who specialize in sublime grooves. But Zero 7 has an ace in the hole in the person of Furler who makes the best of the lush arrangements that Binns and Hardaker provide for her. Furler's voice is a mash-up of Stevie Nicks and Annie Haslam (Renaissance) and she gets to show off her pipes on "The Pageant of the Bizarre" where she sings the first part of the song like a fairy princess but finishes as a gospel maven raising the church rafters in a hallowed duet with Gonzalez. "Today" is a lounge-ish techno number using a Brazilian beat that Gonzalez sings and "This Fine Social Scene" features both singers in an arrangement that would make Donald Fagen and Walter Becker very proud. The Garden closes with a jazzy bit of cabaret in "Waiting to Die," wrapping this masterpiece up with a fitting strings and horn crescendo.

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