Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Zombies - Odessey And Oracle (1968)

I didn't plan on reviewing anything today, but after reading comments here I basically had to. That and I've been known to be unforgiving of most things 'pop', and I'd like to show that I am not entirely hateful. This is not to say that Odessey And Oracle is pop; it's just that there are enough catchy hooks and melodies on here to put some pop confectioneers to shame. Otherwise, it is, without a doubt, one of the greatest records of the 60s (better than any Beatles album, oh yes). If you're like me and would make love to a Mellotron, this album is for you. Prefer the harpsichord? Organ? Piano? Uh-huh. In fact, if you like jazz, Rod Argent is your man.

The album itself is nice admixture of baroque arrangements, lush harmonies and always seems to be pushing for a fruition that never seems to be realized. "Care Of Cell 44" never sounds bleak nor entirely hopeful, despite the obvious location of the narrator. For those who have read Faulkner, "A Rose For Emily" is musically jarring due to the concurrent joy and melancholy, especially the last few bars. Whenever I listen to the album, in fact, I always feel like I'm watching the last few moments of a flower before it begins decaying. It's a weird feeling of rebirth, loss and nostalgia. "Hung Up On A Dream" is probably the best example of this.

Otherwise, if this one happened to evade your ears, and you happen to have a little nostalgia, maybe this one was supposed to be for you. A-


Dan said...

I have just discovered you. Thanks for the review of the Zombies. I agree wholeheartedly. My long word for the day.

Jeff said...

Have you ever featured the Beatles in your two minutes hate?

The Mad Hatter said...


Not a problem. It's a great album.


No, I haven't. Not only do they not fit the criteria, but I do like some of their stuff. I simply hate the hype they get; it's completely undeserved. I am, in lieu of your comment, going to review something by them that I do like, though, just to show you that I am not a complete hater. Rubber Soul without a doubt is the worst, and I stand by that.

Jeff said...

Mad Hatter - Hmmm... I'm going to try to take a stab at which album you are going to review. It can't be Revolver because that sounds too much like Rubber Soul. I think I'll go with the White Album, because it's my least favorite of their post Rubber Soul material, and since you don't like the Beatles and I love them it would only be right if it were that way.

The Mad Hatter said...


I'll do up a review soon, and you'll have to wait and see, although (hint hint) I've actually posted preliminary Beatles grades somewhere in the comments in one of the posts.

musicobsessive said...

In the 1970s I was a great Argent fan and came to the Zombies backwards, as it were. This is one of the best 60s albums I know but funnily enough it is not the Argent compositions that move me most , it is Chris White's. Here is a genuinely under-rated and generally unknown songwriter producing some stunning stuff topped off by the sublime 'Beechwood Park'.

A classic!

The Mad Hatter said...


Well, yes, he did write most of that album, if I'm not mistaken. I tend to hone in on my favorite instrument or musician (usually the guitar) and run with it; but there's no denying his awesomeness. Definitely an amazing album. A shame they had broken up after it took off.