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Odessey and Oracle

The Zombies

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Album Review

Odessey and Oracle was one of the flukiest (and best) albums of the 1960s, and one of the most enduring long-players to come out of the entire British psychedelic boom, mixing trippy melodies, ornate choruses, and lush Mellotron sounds with a solid hard rock base. But it was overlooked completely in England and barely got out in America (with a big push by Al Kooper, who was then a Columbia Records producer); and it was neglected in the U.S. until the single "Time of the Season," culled from the album, topped the charts nearly two years after it was recorded, by which time the group was long disbanded. Ironically, at the time of its recording in the summer of 1967, permanency was not much on the minds of the bandmembers. Odessey and Oracle was intended as a final statement, a bold last hurrah, having worked hard for three years only to see the quality of their gigs decline as the hits stopped coming. The results are consistently pleasing, surprising, and challenging: "Hung Up on a Dream" and "Changes" are some of the most powerful psychedelic pop/rock ever heard out of England, with a solid rhythm section, a hot Mellotron sound, and chiming, hard guitar, as well as highly melodic piano. "Changes" also benefits from radiant singing. "This Will Be Our Year" makes use of trumpets (one of the very few instances of real overdubbing) in a manner reminiscent of "Penny Lane"; and then there's "Time of the Season," the most well-known song in their output and a white soul classic. Not all of the album is that inspired, but it's all consistently interesting and very good listening, and superior to most other psychedelic albums this side of the Beatles' best and Pink Floyd's early work. Indeed, the only complaint one might have about the original LP is its relatively short running time, barely over 30 minutes, but even that's refreshing in an era where most musicians took their time making their point, and most of the CD reissues have bonus tracks to fill out the space available.

Customer Reviews

Closet Classic. Dig it out

This album is the fifth Beatle in a pentet of 60s psychedelic masterpieces along with Sgt.Pepper's, Surrealistic Pillow, Pet Sounds and Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Get it. Play it. Love it

I cannot remember . . . .

. . . . . when an album had such a significant effect on me. This can only be described as perfect. At no time do you feel the need to 'skip' to the next track. Stand outs are tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12. It's that good. Get on a bike, plug in the ipod, hit some hills, play this album. Sublime.

'Odessey and Oracle'

One of music's best kept secrets, Odessey and Oracle is an all-time classic. It should be in any serious music fans collection.

Biography

Formed: 1962 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, Englan

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Aside from the Beatles and perhaps the Beach Boys, no mid-'60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of the Zombies. Dominated by Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals, choral backup harmonies, and Rod Argent's shining jazz- and classical-influenced organ and piano, the band sounded utterly unique for their era. Indeed, their material — penned by either Argent or guitarist Chris White, with unexpected shifts from major to minor keys — was perhaps too adventurous for the singles market....
Full bio

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