Inspired by the great tkitna's reviews, I wanted to see one of my very favourite albums under the microscope: The Zombies' Odessey And Oracle
(1968). It's said to be a beatlesque album, but I would say such things about derivative records like Bee Gees' 1st
; I think Odessey
was influenced on albums like Pet Sounds
and Sgt. Pepper's
, but it still has a distintive and original sound, full of wonderful harmonies, melodic bass lines and, of course, Rod Argent's keyboard.1. Care Of Cell 44.
A very enjoyable opener, a letter to a girlfriend that soon is going to be released from jail (!). The melody reminds me a bit to the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice". 0:15 the bass suddenly appears with a great melodic line (Chris White was a great overlooked bass player). 1:10 the first "feel so good you're coming home soon" backed by great harmony vocals, you know you're in heaven. 2:02 nice middle section. The song ends with endless AAAHHH's and BOOM's, I can't get tired of those harmonies.2. A Rose For Emily.
A baroque sounding song. Just vocals and a piano. 0:30 great chorus, two different vocal melodies one over the other. 2:04 sweet piano ending.3. Maybe After He's Gone.
Another beautiful song. It has a nice guitar intro, unusual for the Zombies because they used to base their songs on keyboards more than guitar. 0:43 love the psychedelic drumming. 1:12 great middle, it could have been the base of a different song. 2:15 the song ends with the chorus made with just lead and harmony vocals, but you still don't notice that there're no instruments.4. Beechwood Park.
A nice song, dominated by an organ line that seems to be inspired by "A Whiter Shade Of Pale". It's a little monotonous, but it still keeps the dream alive.5. Brief Candles.
A truly gem. It starts just with vocals and piano, making you believe that you'll hear another "Rose For Emily", but wild bass and drums appear on every chorus, changing the feeling of the song. It includes the common 60's trick of having the vocals on one channel, then on the other, and finally in the middle (see "Your Mother Should Know"). 3:01 amazing UHHH vocals with ascending volume, great psychedelic effect. Then the song fades out with a piano playing the sweet melody of the tune.6. Hung Up On A Dream.
The Zombies making their "#9 Dream", several years before Lennon's song. Nice piano intro and ending, good drums, suitable strings. 0:48 beautiful solo (is that a guitar?), making an unusual early appearance, like in "Nowhere Man". One of the highlights of the album.7. Changes.
The weakest song of the album, abusing of the mellotron playing. It starts with a breath, don't know if that was a mistake, but I like it. 1:59 nice panning of ascending vocals from right to left, that part makes the song in my opinion.8. I Want Her She Wants Me.
Another of my favourites. Love the bass in this song, very present from the very beginning. It's like the bass is answering the vocals, like in "With A Little Help From My Friends". 2:06 wonderful ending, reminds me to "God Only Knows".9. This Will Be Our Year.
Not one of my favourites, but it's not bad anyway. The mono version is the one that really matters, since it includes a sweet trumpet that's only present in the mono master, so it's absent in the stereo version.10. Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914).
A bizarre war protest song, with a weird organ as the main instrument. It seems that most people don't like it because it doesn't sound like the rest of the album, but in my case I really love it. Great vocals by bassist Chris White, an unusual lead singer. 0:40 frightening moment, sounds like a Halloween song.11. Friends Of Mine.
A happy song, a big contrast to the latter one. 1:20 nice dialogue between guitar and keyboard. Not my cup of tea but quite enjoyable anyway.12. Time Of The Season.
The great hit of the album, and I don't care if it's overplayed, it's a timeless masterpiece. Great bass-drums-breath rhythm that is repeated throughout the song. 0:12 just three notes of keyboard that fit very well. 0:32 the first "it's the time of the season for loving" and a brief silence that says a lot. 1:22 great keyboard solo. 2:35 another wonderful keyboard solo. 2:50 a second simultaneous keyboard appears, making an amazing dialogue with the first one by which the song and album ends.
Great record indeed, my favourite non-Beatles album and only beaten by Rubber Soul
. It's incredible that this album almost didn't see the light - in fact it was released when the band was already disbanded.
Even the cover is a work of art, great collage, like a colorful Revolver!