London electronic duo Zero 7 released EP 3 in April, a decade and a half after the self-released EP 1. Remarkably, on the first three tracks, the electronic elements actually seem to support the vocal elements, which works in their favor, as all three contain great vocal performances. And to be fair, the production of these downtempo numbers makes excellent use of synths and loops—all clicks and snaps, chimes and chirps seem to be in order.
“400 Blows” feat. Danny Pratt stands out for its quiet defiance. “The Colour of Spring” feat. Only Girl sets itself apart for its tender, overlapping shells of field recordings, instruments, and vocals while “Last Light” feat. José González has gentle emergence with González’s parting assurance: “I’ll keep you safe and sound, safe and sound.” The instrumental “Crush Tape” then gets into a nicely flowing deep house groove, but leaves minimal impressions. Here more than ever, Zero 7 sculpt fragile pieces of music, in contrast with the rowdier trip-hop of their youth. Ultimately, while EP 3 does not necessarily take us to distant lands, it makes for undeniably good scenery.