Swim Surreal, Zero 7 – In The Half Light

When English music duo Zero 7 wrote the song Don’t Call It Love with collaborator Swim Surreal over a decade ago, they had no idea they were sowing the seeds of what would eventually materialise into the trio’s new album (and Swim Surreal’s debut), In The Half Light


In The Half Light is a collection of little love songs, expressed in tones of soft rock, funk, and synthpop. There’s an ease to the album that conjures feelings of late summer afternoons spent lazing on the grass, fingers tangled in the hair of another who may or may not be significant. Album opener The Crowd introduces this sort of intimacy, the feeling of escaping “away from the crowd” with someone special. It’s an easygoing start, underscored with a fluttering energy that continues to flow through much of In The Half Light. It’s in the careless whispers of Say Nothing, or in the swooning “you give me butterflies” of Back To Earth.  



Held in mid-air by a droning ambient backdrop, Don’t Call It Love is a breathlessly sensual soft-rock love song, sung with eyes half shut. As the first track written for In The Half Light, and the impetus for the album itself, Don’t Call It Love features much of the DNA that makes up In The Half Light’s palette of languid, psychedelic indietronica. It makes for a fitting centrepiece, and the rest of the album wraps itself around the song’s fluttering urgency, the sweaty palmed tension of what might happen if desire slips suddenly into romance. 


Zero 7 craft a distinct soundscape for In The Half Light that makes for a cohesive and at times sumptuous listening experience. The production of the album never strays too far off course from its analog indie rock meets vaporwave sound, and Zero 7 modulate the tones of this palette to great effect on tracks like the wistful Exile. Although uncomplicated, In The Half Light’s production still feels nuanced. The simplicity of Zero 7’s choices allow for an effortlessness that keeps In The Half Light light as a sigh, but as lingering as a kiss. 


Download / stream In The Half Light here