Music Pop: Odessey & Oracle

Artist: The Zombies

Year: 1968
Example song: Time of the Season

I’ve always pondered over how well-known the Zombies are; almost everyone will recognise their signature song “Time of the Season” from various film and TV appearances, but when I mentioned them to my Dad shortly after I discovered them (a few years ago) he didn’t seem to have heard of them at all, and he was interested in this kind of music while growing up around the time it was released. I’ve since come to realise that he’s surprisingly ignorant at times, but that still answers none of my questions about the popularity of this band from Hertfordshire and their misspelled second LP (by the release of which they had already broken up).

Recorded in one session due to time and budget restraints, Odessey sounds remarkably professional and well put together. This probably (positively) contributed to the fact that the album flows exceptionally well, as the band would have to dive from one song straight into the next as smoothly as possible. Coherence is a trait I value highly in an album; you need to have well-defined tracks, but it’s nice not to be abruptly informed when they change.220px-Odessey_and_Oracle

As such this album is one that always sits nicely with me, and it brings back pleasant memories of a time a few years ago when I was really discovering new music (and devouring it at that). Before today I hadn’t listened to it in too long, and I sometimes feel a little sad that old unassuming favourites like this get left behind somewhat in my neverending quest to discover more and more. It’s nice to sit down every once in a while and listen to an album that means something to me, whatever that may be.

The opening track, “Care of Cell 44”, is hauntingly depressing yet optimistic as it deals with one partner waiting for the other’s release from prison. Haunting is in fact an appropriate appraisal of the rest of the album, coping with melancholic subject matters in a delicate and beautiful fashion. Excellent examples of this are “A Rose for Emily” and “Butcher’s Tale”. You get the general feeling from the album that even though things might be tough right now, with a little bit of faith and a little bit of love you can get through anything.

Overall Odessey & Oracle is an album I rate highly and one I think everyone should experience. It should be a particular hit with fans of ’60s music in general but this isn’t the extent of its appeal. It almost defies genre; I’ve heard it described as psychedelic pop, and I think that’s as apt an interpretation as you’re likely to find. It’s not packed full of hit singles, so if that’s what you’re after then maybe give it a miss. But if you like the sound of a well-written, peaceful yet thought-provoking album then give Odessey a listen, and you might just like what you hear.

My Rating: 8/10

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