Zero 7 (Atlantic)
It’s pushing the point to suggest that Zero 7 invented the kind of chill-out pop playing in every hair salon around the western world several years ago.
But Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker came to represent the genre more than any other act, perhaps because they got stuck in it.
While Air and Groove Armada got there before them and branched out beyond their origins, Zero 7 seemed happy to keep the needle stuck in the groove.
Progress isn’t much more apparent on album four.
Sure, Mr McGee adds clattery drums and a gospel-influenced vocal, and Ghost Symbol occasionally sounds like an explosion in a storage space full of obsolete electronic instruments (a good thing).
But the songs are pretty feeble: Swing sets attractive layers of vocals over a dreary waltz-time backdrop, Medicine Man and The Road go nowhere, and the whole thing slides by with the staying power of a puff of smoke.