It seems the Zombies show no sign of slowing down as their latest album, the aptly title Still Got the Hunger displays. Formed in St. Alban’s, England, in 1961 with Rod Argent on piano and Colin Blunstone on vocals the band became famous in the mid to late 1960s with the eloquent She’s Not There, Tell Her No and Time of the Season and their 1968 album Odyssey and Oracle propelled them further into Rock’s Hall of Fame as Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 80 out of 500 Greatest Hits Albums of All Time. In fact the cover of SGTH is by Odessey and Oracle cover designer Terry Quirk.
After disbanding in 1967 and officially reforming in 2004 the band celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2011 by touring with the album Breathe Out, Breathe In. More recently, led by original members Rod and Colin, they completed a series of US shows, appearing at SXSW and then Glastonbury festival this year displaying the endurability of their music. Not only have they sustained their popularity (spanning more than four decades) they are cited as musical influences to many including the Artic Monkeys, Super Furry Animals and Eminem (who sampled their Time of the Season on his track Rhyme or Reason). They revealed the title of their new album in July this year on BBC Breakfast and sparked a Twitter and email frenzy when the track Chasing the Past was played on Radcliffe and Marconi’s 6 Music show recently. So all in all I was looking forward to playing this album being a fan myself. Still Got the Hunger kicks off with the life-affirming Moving On with a Steely Dan jazz-esque style piano. ‘Goodbye to trouble, I’m leaving behind…in my life no more grieving or sorrow. They are on good form, looking to the future’.
The soulful Chasing the Past could be lifted from the Zombies back library full of poignancy, Blunstone’s exquisite voice and Hammond-style organ whilst Edge of the Rainbow echoes hopes for the future and sounds like it would fit into a musical starring Elton John, it has that vibe about it! New York recalls youthful exuberance: I was just a young man, still inside 19, I stepped inside your city streets, stepped inside a dream with a catchy keyboard reminiscent of Supertramp. This was a favourite of mine. Having not long returned from New York myself it left a happy impression on me. I Want You Back sees them remake their 1965 single a slower, jazz-tinged melody displaying their craftsmanship particularly Argent’s magic fingers and Blunstone’s opening vocals echoing Nick Drake. Whilst And We Were Young Again drops down a further key: a dreamy track that lulls you and reminds you of lying on the grass in a park with the sun on your face.
Maybe Tomorrow continues the jazz-blues tinged theme. It’s jaunty enough but I admit, wasn’t my favourite and didn’t really do it for me. Never Get Over You speaks of longing and hope with a catchy melody that floats along effortlessly. (It’s all right if you want to spend some time alone) and is poppy and breezy whilst Little One is a stripped back to just piano and Blunstone’s chocolatey vocals for this jazz affair that is gentle and soothing.
The finale is Beyond the Borderline that is heartfelt with rich vocals and musical arrangements. Overall Still Got the Hunger is an arena for the Zombies talents that can’t be denied. A well crafted album with a blues-jazz feel that works if you’re in a more laid-back mood with a few stand-out tracks (Chasing the Past, Moving On, New York, and Never Get Over You).Catch them on their UK touch in November/December.