CD Shorts: The Zombies

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


(Varese Sarabande)

One of the most talented British invasion bands, The Zombies have always been out of sync with success. Their 1968 hit “Time of the Season” climbed the charts after they had broken up, and it took decades for their psychedelic masterpiece Odyssey & Oracle to find an appreciative audience. So it makes a certain kind of sense that their great lost album R.I.P. is only now being released in its intended form.

To take advantage of the popularity of “Time of the Season,” members of the defunct group came together to create new tracks and breathe life into unused outtakes. While this sounds like the recipe for a tossed-off Frankenstein concoction, R.I.P. is a cohesive collection of first-rate songs. Stylistically, it mixes the baroque psychedelia of Odyssey with the big-beat soul of their early work. Among the many highlights, the breathlessly seductive “Girl Help Me” and propulsively anthemic “Walking in the Sun” both sound like they could’ve been hits.

Unfortunately, the record company heard no promise and shelved the album. Individual songs have surfaced on collections over the years, but these tunes sound best in their intended environment. Freshly exhumed, The Zombies’ final creation has an uncanny vitality.•

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