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Author Topic: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)  (Read 2358 times)

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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« on: September 01, 2011, 04:39:57 AM »

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 and Revolver. 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!

« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 05:14:19 AM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2011, 12:56:43 PM »

Sweet!  ;yes

Great idea to review other albums. One of my top 5 albums ever and now another excuse to break it out. I'll post my review of it shortly too. Thanks Hombre.

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2011, 02:07:15 PM »

That's great tkitna! Can't wait to read your review.
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Joost

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 08:33:54 PM »

I like The Zombies and I'm a big fan of the first two songs on this album. Somehow the other songs never sunk in quite as well. I think I'll give it another try right now...
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2011, 01:07:38 AM »

I must get this album, as you guys must get;

it nearly made the 60's hombre  ;D


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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2011, 02:12:06 AM »

I must get this album, as you guys must get;

it nearly made the 60's hombre  ;D




Surely it's Prog Rock record, isn't it? If it's closer to King Crimson than Genesis, I'll look for it. ;D
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nimrod

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2011, 03:05:56 AM »

kind of song based folky proto-prog unlike the 2 you mention

see what you think

Barclay James Harvest - Early Morning (High Quality)
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2011, 03:16:01 AM »

That's actually a nice ballad.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2011, 03:24:59 AM »

I like The Zombies and I'm a big fan of the first two songs on this album. Somehow the other songs never sunk in quite as well. I think I'll give it another try right now...

I know about your love for "God Only Knows". Saving the distances, I'd like to know what you think about the multi-vocals ending in "I Want Her She Wants Me".
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tkitna

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 03:36:42 PM »

Once again, i'll state that this is a top 5 album for me of all time. Its more pop with a little psych added in, but its good stuff. I'm not going to go as in depth as Hombre, but here's my take on the songs -

Care Of Cell 44 - Love the piano and beat. Colin Bloodstones vocals are fantastic. Underrated voice in my opinion. Love the beat. Really dig how the song explodes in the middle after the Beach Boy type harmonies. Great song.

A Rose For Emily - Slower song with a lovely piano and great harmonies. Speaking of the harmonies, this band had it going on. They really should be mentioned with the bigger bands when harmonies are spoke of. Nice song.

Maybe After He’s Gone - Love the guitar beginning. Bass sounds great too. Argents piano is fantastic too when the drums come in. Song is pretty neat in my opinion. It has a somber feel to it until the chorus and then it turns to a happier feeling. Great song.

Beechwwod Park - Darker song. Love the organ. Drums are sweet sounding too. Harmonies once again are awesome. I love this song.

Brief Candles - Not only the best song on the album, but probably one of my top 5 songs of all time. Love the lyrics to this song and I’m not a lyrics guy. Bass playing is nice in this tune. Piano, drums, and harmonies all top notch again. Love the middle part with the high pitched wail that almost sounds of agony. Awesome, awesome song.

Hung Up On A Dream - Another somber sounding tune to me. The slight use of strings throughout add. Nice melody. I like this song too, but its not one of the strongest.

Changes - Like the organ beginning, but the song reminds me of some type of chanting for some reason. Repeating, monotonous singing throughout. Not bad, but theres better.

I Want Her She Wants Me - Love playing the drums to this song. Absolutely fantastic pop tune. Harpsichord sounds great. Bass is awesome. Nice tempo and love the dynamics on the hi hats. Great tune.

This Will Be Our Year - I don’t know why, but this song reminds me of a Paul tune. Horns and paino maybe. Not one of the strongest efforts, but it’s a nice enough song.

Butchers Tale(Westren Front 1914) - I like this song because when my kids were younger I told them that it sounded like Dracula playing an organ and singing in his castle and they just loved that. Its an eerie, dark song, but its about war. Everytime my kids would get into the truck with me, they would be reaching for this cd just because of this song.

Friends Of Mine - Happy tune with a quicker pace. Reminds me of another Paul song for some reason. The harmonies perhaps with the names being sang. Who knows. Like the drumming and the guitar tone. Piano is great as usual. Nice song.

Time Of The Season - Should always be mentioned when great drum beats are brought up. Great song with slick production. Fantastic organ solo by Argent. Awesome.

Bonus tracks:
I’ll Call You Mine - One of my favorite songs. Love to play the drums to this one too. Love the vocals. Paino playing is top notch. Rod should be mentioned more often. Great song.

Imagine The Swan - Love this song too. Like the harpsichord organ and the drums. Middle part is great. Good song.


Listening to this album again, I really think I enjoy it mostly due to the great harmonies and how melodic the entire thing is. I think its an all-time great record, but even if you don’t, you would be hard pressed to find better 60’s pop than right here.

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2011, 05:57:27 PM »

Great review tkitna, and I agree with most of your points. Those two bonus tracks are also substantial and belong pretty much to this album. About the harmonies, in my opinion the Zombies are up there with the best ones.

I liked your analogy of "Butcher's Tale" as Dracula playing an organ and singing in his castle. ;D
« Last Edit: September 02, 2011, 06:45:13 PM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2011, 10:17:15 AM »

How's it going Hombre_de_ningun_lugar and tkitna? You both have great tastes in bands, THE ZOMBIES is a great band! When THE ZOMBIES disbanded in the late 1960's, it was only the beginning for Rod Argent. As you well know, Rod Argent would form his own band ARGENT and release his legendary hits "Hold Your Head Up" and "God Gave Rock and Roll To You" in the 1970's. Rod Argent is a Rock Icon! Take care. 
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2011, 03:10:59 PM »

Hi BeatlesForever, I'm fine, and you? I know those two hits by the band Argent, but I've never got deep into their stuff. Rod Argent may be my very favourite keyboardist, I love his pseudo-jazz improvisations. Think of "She's Not There", what a great solo, and it was recorded in 1964! It was an influence for other key 60's songs like the Byrds' "Eight Miles High". I think the Zombies deserve much more credit than they usually receive.
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2011, 03:48:31 PM »

Hi BeatlesForever, I'm fine, and you? I know those two hits by the band Argent, but I've never got deep into their stuff. Rod Argent may be my very favourite keyboardist, I love his pseudo-jazz improvisations. Think of "She's Not There", what a great solo, and it was recorded in 1964! It was an influence for other key 60's songs like the Byrds' "Eight Miles High". I think the Zombies deserve much more credit than they usually receive.

I'm doing great Hombre_de_ningun_lugar, thanks for asking. THE ZOMBIES definitely deserve more credit than what they received. "She's Not There" is a GREAT song! SANTANA did a great version of that song. Take care.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2011, 05:19:27 PM »

Yes, Santana did a great version, but noone can beat the Zombies at their own game!

The Zombies - She's Not There
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2011, 05:42:36 PM »

Yes, Santana did a great version, but noone can beat the Zombies at their own game!

The Zombies - She's Not There


That is true! However, in my opinion, ARGENT did a better live version of "Time Of The Season" than THE ZOMBIES did! What do you think? Take care. 
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »

I haven't heard that version, but "Time Of The Season" by the Zombies is one of my all time favourite songs, in my opinion their orginal version is hard to be beaten!
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2011, 07:43:47 PM »

I haven't heard that version, but "Time Of The Season" by the Zombies is one of my all time favourite songs, in my opinion their orginal version is hard to be beaten!

I LOVE "Time Of The Season!" There is a live version of "Time Of The Season" on the ARGENT Anthology, it sounds great! Take care.
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2011, 02:21:44 AM »

I hope you all won't laugh, but I like Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs like I'll Never Fall In Love Again.  Well, they wrote The Look Of Love which appeared in Casino Royale (1967)...

Casino Royale ( the Look of Love )



It was also made popular by Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 at that time...

Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66 The Look of Love



But I found The Zombies' version brilliant in that it sets quite a different mood...

The Zombies - The Look of Love
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Re: Microscope: Odessey And Oracle (The Zombies)
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2011, 02:38:47 AM »

I hope you all won't laugh, but I like Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs like I'll Never Fall In Love Again.  Well, they wrote The Look Of Love which appeared in Casino Royale (1967)...

I'm not laughing...I like them too.  :)

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