22 Oct 2015
The Zombies – Still Got That Hunger
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
It's important to ponder expectations before checking out this new album by the Zombies. After all, this is the band responsible for "Odessey & Oracle", the 1968 classic that made number 100 in the Rolling Stone's best albums of all time, and many would think it deserved a higher placing than that. There are a lot of fans out there clamouring for another "Odyssey & Oracle" but is that a realistic expectation? "Odyssey" was without precedent in the Zombies catalogue, a departure from their earlier R&B and beat material, and completely different to the solo and splinter group material members were responsible for afterwards. So, let's get something straight: this is no "Odessey and Oracle Part 2", nor does it attempt to be, although using a piece of cover art by the same artist responsible for "Odyssey & Oracle" may lead you to expect otherwise. Rather than attempt to rehash a former glory, “Still Got That Hunger” is a more honest representation of what the band are about nowadays.
“Still Got That Hunger” is not by any stretch of the imagination a psychedelic album. Nor is it a baroque pop album. Like its predecessor, 2011’s “Breathe Out, Breathe In“, “Still Got That Hunger” is a classic rock album, with committed performances, and the glossy production sheen that seems to be favoured by rockers of a certain age.
Bluesy rockers with an emphasis on Colin Blunstone’s still impressive pipes and Rod Argent’s keys are the order of the day, with immaculate arrangements that often recall the likes of Steely Dan, especially when the backing chorus enters on “And We Were Young Again”.
The lyrics are a mixture of nostalgic reminiscing (“New York”), and ruminations on aging, a natural extension of a bunch of old friends getting back together, revisiting their pasts, and pondering what a future together will bring. It’s perfect fodder for what the unkind would call dad-rock, but the Zombies sound thoroughly at ease operating within this spectrum, and it seems likely that they had a ball recording this.
So, adjust your expectations and you’ll likely find this to be an easy going, good humoured collection, most likely to be enjoyed by those with a few flecks of grey in their beards.
Available here (UK/EU), or here (US).