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The Zombies – Breathe Out, Breathe In

The Zombies, Breathe Out, Breathe In

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ANYONE expecting a blast of classic Zombies from singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent’s latest offering had best think again. While there are traces, this is very much a ‘modern’ Zombies LP.

That is to say, it’s accomplished rather than exhilarating, much in the same way that more recent Rolling Stones albums have sounded. The early fire, the early psychedelia are all but gone.

This is radio friendly, soft-rock that plays to older sensibilities. It’s impressively assembled but it lacks much spark. And it fails to yield a track as addictive or evergreen as ‘60s hits She’s Not There, Time Of The Season or Tell Her No.

Sadly, it won’t even go down in the same memory as their seminal album, Odessey & Oracle, which is forever being touted in Rolling Stone and Mojo’s Top 50 albums of all time.

What Breathe Out, Breathe In does do is mark the 50th anniversary of The Zombies’ first coming together in St Albans in 1961.

Also, in Rod Argent’s words, it accomplishes the mission statement behind it.

“We wanted to use as many two and three part harmonies as possible and lots of Hammond organ, Mellotron and Memotron. We didn’t want to recreate the past, but we wanted to capture The Zombies’ essence and meaning,” he said.

“Our energy and enthusiasm for making music is the same as it was when we first started and the magic and mystery of the whole music making process, we are still thrilled by it all.”

The ensuing album is marked by a couple of moments: Any Other Way, a re-working of a song written by Colin that first turned up on his 2009 solo record, The Ghost Of You & Me, which carries a whiff of Cubana about it and a delicious guitar solo to accompany the Hammond organs.

And the psychedelic rock of Play It For Real, which deliberately references the band’s continued passion for The Beatles, as well as their own former sound.
Of note, too, is the Spanish Civil War influenced A Moment in Time.

But at other moments, there’s an earnestness and a sense of overkill, as in the piano-laden finale of Let It Go or the enforced breeziness of Shine on Sunshine that makes them sound their age.

Alas, while any new Zombies record undoubtedly has something to recommend it, Breathe Out, Breathe In lacks the old free-flowing magic.

Download picks: Any Other Way, Play It For Real, A Moment in Time

Track listing:

  1. Breathe Out, Breathe In
  2. Any Other Way
  3. Play It For Real
  4. Shine on Sunshine
  5. Show Me The Way
  6. A Moment in Time
  7. A Christmas For The Free
  8. Another Day
  9. I Believe
  10. Let It Go