Still Got That Hunger
(Cherry Red Records)
That the original Zombies were here and gone far too swiftly is a generally accepted fact among coneisseurs of pop/rock music and songwriting. They had something special vocally and instrumentally, they used imaginative arrangements and had a strong jazz slant due mainly to keyboard ace Rod Argent who, like Brian Auger had a taste for American jazz but steered clear of aping Tyner, Silver and Hancock. As Colin Blunstone had a clear, haunting and individual vocal delivery, their recordings still sound distinctive and often have a touch of mystery about them. The only US equivalent were the mighty Spirit, from Los Angeles… indeed Time To Fly and Fresh Garbage could be Zombies compositions. That the group had influence in the Americas is evidenced by Carlos Santana choosing to record his own version of She’s Not There, topped off with stinging guitar runs but moreover it was Blues Project and Blood Sweat & Tears alumnus Al Kooper who lobbied CBS to release The Zombies’ Odyssey & Oracle album his side of the Atlantic.That record included the splendid Time Of The Season. By which time the first incarnation of the group had gone….
It must be conceded that this new album has a very apt title. This is not the sound of old hands putting together a set of songs that will suffice, more a presentation of very varied and inspired compositions, delivered with finesse and power. The zippy paean to New York City that is New York is worth the outlay alone, in my humble opinion. The singing is jet-propelled and joyous, the arrangement lively and….
Opening cut ‘Moving On’ rocks in on a boogie riff and doesn’t take long throwing in Zombies touches such as semi-staccato passages and emphases and insistent guitar. Blunstone as ever sings clearly and makes every word count. The acoustic piano flirts with the acidic guitar in a brief exchange. No shouting but punchy as whatever, riding out on a Hammond chord fade. ‘Chasing The Past’ has baroque piano and a reflective tale in what sounds a very comfortable key for Blunstone. The bridge is a perfect example of what this band is all about. An organ break adds warmth and the album title appears in the lyric, then a regally-phrased modulated guitar takes a solo. The ensemble vocal really is a cracker.
‘Edge Of The Rainbow’ has a late night bar piano intro that evokes Hoagy Carmichael or Ray Charles, Colin sings his heart out on this easy-going r&b song. Try not singing along! ‘I Want You Back Again’ seems to be in 5/4 time and is an anguished plea to re-ignite a worthwhile passion, legato guitar figures back in the mix. A jazz piano break cements the restless vibe of the song and yes it’s very close to Spirit…
‘And We Were Young Again’ finds the electric piano and clean electric guitar over a bossa nova beat and it’s pure Steely Dan! None the worse for that, either. ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ starts like a Creedence rocker before ‘Lady Madonna’style piano rolls in, yet another excellent vocal and the arrangement get the toes tapping, the piano is irresistible and still has Bix Beiderbecke fragments in the phrasing. ‘Now I Know I’ll Never Get Over You’ has a tumbling guitar start, then a somewhat sinister riff takes the song along. It’s a killer tune, catchy and tuneful with a hint of The Byrds.
McGuinn was a big fan of The Zombies, of course as he and Crosby too listened to jazz all the time. A terrific piano solo ices the sonic cake. ‘Little One’ is briskly taken with a minimal setting. It would be the ace in the hole number in a West End musical, I kid you not….
Closer ‘Beyond The Borderline’ is a lovely unhurried love song, with choppy keyboard chording and tremelo’d guitar, emphatic drumming and a very cool bassline that again wouldn’t be out of place on a Becker/Fagen song.
Distinctively The Zombies, but fresh and colourful, with Blunstone’s voice sounding better than ever. It’s a record you won’t tire of playing.
The Zombies new album ‘Still Got That Hunger’ is out now on Cherry Red Records. In addition, The Zombies will be touring the UK extensively in 2016 at the following venues and festivals:
Friday 4th June 2016 – (Headline Show with special guest Fred Abbott), Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1LRYWtq
Saturday 5th June 2016 (Festival Appearance), Lunar Festival 2016, West Midlands, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1UPRcLP
Thursday 7th July 2016 – (Headline Show with special guest Fred Abbott), Aberdare Coliseum, Aberdare, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/21NCGCz
Friday 8th July 2016 – (Headline Show with special guest Fred Abbott), Bath Komedia, Bath, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1ZFy1Dc
Saturday 9th July 2016 – (Headline Show with special guest Fred Abbott), The Brook, Southampton, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1TcynAL
Sunday 10th July 2016 – (Festival Appearance), Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1SslWkz
Friday 15th July 2016 – (With The Pretty Things), Hampton Pool Summer Picnic Concert Series, Hampton Hill, United Kingdom http://bit.ly/23aRhe3
Saturday 23rd July 2016 – (Festival Appearance) Ramblin Man Fair, Prog In The Park Stage, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent United Kingdom http://bit.ly/1UNhvyj
For more information on The Zombies visit their official website here: http://bit.ly/235iIcy
(Thanks to Sacha at Impressive PR)