UK band THE ZOMBIES were a relatively short-lived band from way back when. While they were formed as far back as 1961, they didn’t start releasing any material until 1964, and following an array of initial singles their first album appeared in 1965. Three years later their second album “Odessey and Oracle” appeared, but by then the band itself was history. Revivals have taken place on a few occasions however, and it appears that the band has been a going concern again from 2004 and remains active as of 2018.
I understand that “Odessey and Oracle” is the album this band is most renowned for, and that it’s status as a classic album is one that it gained retrospectively over a number of years. Personally I didn’t know all that much about neither band nor album, and found it interesting getting to know this one.
First and foremost I regard this album as a time typical one, and perhaps one that came a year or two too late when it was released. At least my impression is that this is an album that perhaps doesn’t quite capture the spirit of this particular moment of this particular year.
A certain naive spirit that I associate with the mid rather than late 60’s is a recurring trait throughout this album. Otherwise I note playful instrument details, at times amazing vocal harmonies of a generally uplifting manner, contrasted with lyrics of a more bittersweet variety and other details that adds a melancholic and softly mournful atmosphere to this album. Ever so lightly coated in time typical psychedelic tinged flavoring, in this case the Mellotron, as well as the brittle sound of the harpsichord. Not so much a summer breeze album as an album recalling the memories of a summer breeze if you like.
I find the band most intriguing when they get a bit more adventurous, Hung Up On A Dream can be mentioned as the prime example for me there. I also like it when they take a slight left turn into territories of a less delicate nature: The sparse but rather harrowing Butchers Tale (Western Front 1914) makes an impression there. The more playful and less naive spirit explored in concluding cut Time of the Season also comes across as a highlight for me.
To how much a degree one will be intrigued by the charms of “Odessey and Oracle” will probably come down to how much you treasure the gentler sides of 60’s lightly psychedelic flavored pop/rock. Soft expressions and bittersweet, softly contrasting moods define a lot of this album, and if this alongside 60’s pop and rock is something you tend to enjoy, this is an album worth taking a closer look at.
My rating: 73/100
Care of Cell 44 // A Rose for Emily // Maybe After He’s Gone // Beechwood Park // Brief Candles // Hung Up on a Dream // Changes // I Want Her She Wants Me // This Will Be Our Year // Butchers Tale (Western Front 1914) // Friends of Mine // Time of the Season