The Zombies – Still Got That Hunger (2015)

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Hailing from St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, the Zombies were one of the many British bands that set the music world on fire in 1964. Late that year, the group gleaned a giant hit with “She’s Not There,” while early 1965 saw “Tell Her No” also race to the very top of the charts.

Right from the start it was obvious the Zombies were unique and inventive. Much of the band’s material was sliced of detail and sophistication, threaded with jazz inspirations. Compared to the majority of their peers, whose repertoires tended to orbit strictly around renovated blues or straight-on beat pop, the Zombies certainly stood apart in the crowd.

In 1967, the Zombies recorded an album, Odessey and Oracle that elevated their brilliance to even higher altitudes. Gushing with elegant psychedelic designs and poetic prose, the album wasn’t issued until 1968, however, and by then the band had disassembled. Nevertheless, a track from the album – the haunting “Time Of The Season” – was dispatched as a single and peaked at No. 3 in February of 1969.

Unfortunately, Although though they were storming the airwaves, the Zombies had no plans to get back together. Other activities were being pursued, with lead singer Colin Blunstone going the solo route, while keyboardist Rod Argent and bassist Chris White were in the process of launching Argent, who went onto score hits with “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Love Rock and Roll.”

Since 1990, the Zombies have staged periodic reunions, both live and on record. The results have always been phenomenal, and the band’s new album, Still Got That Hunger (The End Records) is no exception. Comprised of original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, along with former Argent bassist Jim Rodford, guitarist Tom Tooney, and drummer Steve Rodford, the group expertly combines their initial vision with a fresh outlook.

A love letter to the Big Apple and rock and roll, the sweeping sparkle of “New York” namedrops icons such as Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, and Patti and the Bluebells. “Chasing the Past” glimmers with strains of goose-pimply classical passages, and the powered punch of “Moving On,” which features soaring guitar riffs and cascading keyboard trills, reels with mighty and majestic moves by the pound.

Sculpted of jaunty rhythms and a wildly infectious hook, “Maybe Tomorrow” kicks in as a further spectacular offering on Still Got That Hunger, as well as the electrifying polish of “Beyond the Borderline” and the rich and evocative “Edge of the Rainbow” that accents the band’s tight but free-flight prowess each breath and chord of the way. Super smooth vocals, flaring with feeling, accompanied by cracking instrumentation and industrial-strength melodies attire every cut on the album, making it a flawless piece of music where time and space collapse.

Progressive and arty, yet teeming with pop aspects, Still Got That Hunger begs to be played on the radio. Aside from proudly wearing their roots on their sleeves, which encompasses jazz, soul, blues, vintage rock, and Motown, the Zombies add something extra to their deftly-constructed songs that reward them with their own dazzling identity.

Appropriately titled, Still Got That Hunger firmly asserts the Zombies remain motivated and keep their minds open. Judging from this fantastic album, it’s easy to hear why the band has been so influential through the decades. Not only is Still Got That Hunger the album of the year, but perhaps the group’s finest effort to date. What a beauty!

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