context they ought to be brought out to the fore to be 'proper songs'. It's a bit of a Catch-22: They're irritating, but they need to be more obvious. Considering that he's a competent producer and engineer (having produced Smashing Pumpkins and the Divine Comedy) its surprising that he's let this happen on his own album. Whilst Zero 7 at least know to contract out to professional vocalists instead of rippin' up the mic themselves, it sounds as though Chase has been pushed into the vocal booth by his alter-ego to bring a couple of singles out of the album - which don't particularly work.
To counteract this apparent problem with self-reliance, the album brings in a few other names to lay down instrumental parts - amongst others, he found James Iha to play guitar on 'Beautiful View', but then in all fairness the ex-pumpkin could have just been sitting at the back of the studio staring at his guitar throughout the session, considering how little he distinguishes the track from any others on the album.
Wonderfully Nothing could feature as 'album of the month' in many of the semi-trendy women's magazines, with descriptions such as "perfect music for relaxing in the bath to" in big bold letters. They might even like the vocal tracks - but the album's strength lies definitely in its instrumentals (even as music for bathing to) - Fleet, Home and Fais Dodo, are all light, breezy numbers, with imaginative electronic/acoustic arrangements that really draw you in. The sleazy horn solos are a nice touch too. Possible singles (including Sweet Sensation; Summer Parade; and Shine if he wants to get in with the Zero 7 crowd) will benefit from decent remixes, and many of the instrumentals will no doubt find comfortable homes on the many dance chillout compilations.
Players: Andy Chase, Jean-Pierre Ensuque, Cyril Moisson