The Zombies new album, ‘Still Got That Hunger’ is after repeated listenings, hard not to like. For a band formed in 1961, they still tour a hell of a lot, so no-one can argue with its title. It’s in places semi-autobiographical, nostalgic and as technically proficient as one would expect, from a band responsible for one of the greatest albums of all time – 1968’s ‘Odessey and Oracle’ (the spelling mistake, a sign of the tripped-out times).
‘Moving On’ kicks things off, a fairly bluesy-rock number in a Clapton-esque vein with of course some tasty guitar work, and piano that would make a moon dance (Sorry!) Colin Blunstone’s voice is still a thing of beauty, and Rod Argent’s Hammond sound still one of the finest in the business.
‘Chasing the Past’ starts with a descending piano motif that leads you right there, before bursting into CSN harmonies and a melody that brings to mind Egg, Caravan and all things Canterbury (and a lovely guitar solo to boot!)
‘Edge of the Rainbow’ is a piano-driven doo-wop Broadway showstopper, the likes of which, the dearly departed Freddie M and Frank Z liked to indulge in. By the end of it you almost feel like you’re wearing a bowler hat.
‘New York’ is the kind of track that younger artists channeling the past in a kind of ironic, homage pastiche way, would love to pull off, but never quite get there. When it’s done for real (as it surely is here), if you like this kind of thing it’s a joy. If your all-knowing cynical side is not so keen, then like me, imagine it’s the theme tune for a ‘Different Strokes’-era TV show and everyone’s a winner baby.
‘I Want You Back Again’, one of their original songs from 1965, is re-imagined from its muttered ‘Them’-like origins into a swaggering number, that evokes the Allman Brothers’ ‘Whipping Post’ and the earthier outpourings of Arthur Brown, topped off with a piano solo that would put Ray Manzarek to shame.
‘And We Were Young Again’ is pure 70s cop-show ballad of the kind where someone called ‘Snuffy’ was always involved, followed by ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, which gives more than a cheeky nod to The Beatles’ ‘Lady Madonna’ (a trick they employed on 2011 track ‘Play It For Real’, which parodied ‘Hey Bulldog’) and owns up to it’s sources with its closing line.
‘Now I Know I’ll Never Get Over You’ is a unashamedly radio-friendly Kinksy number that still manages to shimmy dangerously close to Bananarama territory, but is rescued by Rod Argent’s heroic piano solo, arguably the best since Jools on The The’s ‘Uncertain Smile’.
‘Little One’ is a vocal/piano gem, and the album closes with ‘Beyond the Borderline’, where time comes full circle. It’s a brief but epic number that could actually pass off as The Super Furry Animals, which perfectly exemplifies how much this The Zombies sound has permeated the fabric of what we call music today.
In a lovely touch, the artwork is by the same artist, Terry Quirk, responsible for the ‘Odessey and Oracle’ sleeve. I hope they’ve forgiven him for that spelling mistake.