Its been utterly wonderful to witness — and be a participant in — the late period resurgent popularity of one of the original British Invasion rock bands from the 1960s: The Zombies. A group unfairly overlooked by many, despite numerous big hits, The Zombies had split up by the time their 1967 opus Odessey And Oracle was eventually released in the US in 1969. When it became a surprise smash hit, the band members (still friends) had unfortunately already moved onto new projects such as the prog / pop rock band Argent (which had several huge hit records in the early 1970s).
So while they never really went away individually, as a band entity, The Zombies never really got their due. I’ll put it this way, in 2007 when I saw my first Zombies show at The Fillmore Auditorium, they humbly announced their awe and wonder as that particular show marked the first time they were playing that legendary venue as The Zombies. As an audience, it was a special moment to share with the group, especially a group of this stature.
Moving further into the 21st Century, this fine new incarnation of The Zombies, featuring original founding members Rod Argent and singer Colin Blunstone, have toured the world, issued much new music and generally seem to have had a blast rocking the world in a way they never really got to do back in the day.
In late 2015 (and finally arriving on vinyl in early 2016) The Zombies — with the help of their fans — put out a fun new album called Still Got That Hunger.
Independently funded via a fan-driven Pledgemusic campaign, the new recordings fall right in line with the last several fine albums The Zombies have issued since the turn of the new Millennium (Breathe Out, Breathe In, As Far As I Can See, Out of the Shadows, etc.)
Still Got That Hunger is a solid collection of new Zombies songs which the band has been breaking out live on its latest tour. Opening with the bluesy moody “Moving On,” the album takes on some reflective, autobiographical tones (“Chasing the Past,” “New York,” “Maybe Tomorrow”). But there are also more songs of love and longing (“Now I Know I’ll Never Get Over You,” “I Want You Back Again”).
The band’s inspiring enthusiasm — and ongoing hunger to create new music, per the album’s title– is best summed up with the poignant album closer “Beyond The Borderline” :
“It’s what you dreamed of
For all your life
That magic moment’s here
The heartache and the sacrifice
All worth it just to feel the changing atmosphere
It’s very clear”
The band is playing in top form. Singer Colin Blunstone’s voice is remarkable, sounding richer and stronger than ever. The vinyl package is super fun, featuring new artwork by the same artist who created their legendary Odessey And Oracle cover design. While the new album was likely recorded in the digital realm — so anticipate some harder sonic edges at times –the sound overall warmed up quite nicely playing the thick, well centered, probably 180-gram, black vinyl album through my Bellari tube pre-amp.
If all this new Zombie’s music isn’t enough for you, fret not: a fine two LP set of The Zombies’ BBC Radio Sessions was issued last year on Record Store Day. The pressings are solid and the performances great. Sound quality ranges from (mostly) outstanding to (occasionally) archival. In any event this vinyl edition sounds better than CD versions of this material that I have heard previously. Definitely worth picking up if you want a complete end-to-end update on The Zombies.
It is the time of the season, after all….