It’s fair to say that Zero 7 probably helped soundtrack make-out sessions for many of the pre-Spotify generation who still bought and played albums in full.
First year university students across the land would proudly slap on the brilliantly chilled and inoffensive When It Falls to help set the mood for a drunken bout of fumbling. But on their latter studio album, Yeah Ghost, Zero 7 mostly discarded their trademark 'goes down easy’ sound for some misjudged post-dubstep and meandering, warbling instrumentals which were a clear cry of “we don’t just do easy listening, folks!”
Now, seven years since Yeah Ghost, one half of Zero 7 - Henry Binns - has joined forces with singer and The Voice ex-contestant Bo Bruce to form Equador. Thankfully, it returns to the downtempo he crafted so effectively when he made music with Sam Hardaker and gives Bruce’s tender melodies ample room to breathe and evolve in this excellent first single.
The pulsing heartbeat of “Blood” at first gives the impression that this is going to be another dreary, sultry electronic pop song that sounds like a three minute-long loop which goes nowhere. But the changes on “Blood” are unexpected and uplifting, resulting in a track worthy of a much wider audience than your ten-a-penny electronic beats+female vocalist formula we’ve seen too often lately.
It conjures up plenty of nostalgic nods to the '90s, combining some Enya, Dido and Massive Attack in there. Yes, we’re aware on paper that sounds a little uninspiring, but The xx and London Grammar both tried the nu-trip-hop thing to great effect, and here in their moody video for “Blood” Equador have given us proof that they have something to say on the matter, too.