Zero 7 constantly gets compared to Air -- which is completely understandable, especially when you hear the utterly lovely ambience that the two acts share, all blue-skied daydreams with soft lighting. Really, though, Zero 7 has more in common with the sultry trip-hop of groups such as Portishead, the Sneaker Pimps or Blue Lines-era Massive Attack. The outfit's excellent 2001 debut, Simple Things, is soulful lounge music that sounds like what you might hear playing in a Eurasian airport in Sofia Coppola's next film. Although you'd think the hypnotic pulse and sheer ethereal tranquility of the group's music would be enough to put you to sleep in the concert setting, surprisingly, the men behind Zero 7 -- Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker -- are great live. Touring in support of its latest, more pop-oriented effort, When It Falls, Zero 7 infuses trip-hop with a breath of, well, fresh air. -- Murphy
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