Colin Blunstone

As Far As I Can See...

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As Far As I Can See..., the first Zombies record in over 30 years, is a disappointment on many levels. No one in his right mind would expect the record to be as wonderful as Odessey & Oracle or any of the group's early recordings, but it doesn't seem too much to expect the record to be as good as a 2004 Elton John or Brian Wilson record. This is the first disappointment, since the record falls far short on this count. The sterile production, pedestrian playing, bland songwriting, and uninspired -- often corny -- arrangements combine to sink this record to depths one never thought any record with the name Zombies on it would reach. That is another disappointment right there: Rod Argent's decision to call this a Zombies record. He and Colin Blunstone had already released an album under their own names, but since this was a record where all the songs were written with Blunstone's voice in mind, it seemed right to use the band name. Surely it helped them get their record released by a major label, and it will probably draw a lot more interest and sales than a record under their own names would. The most heart-wrenching disappointment is the fact that Blunstone's voice is wasted, because the guy can still sing to charm the birds out of the trees. Both his breathy whisper and rock & roll croon are still fully intact. Hearing him sweet-talk his way through ballads like "I Don't Believe in Miracles," stroll gently through the quiet love song "Look for a Better Way," or rip through the rocker "Time to Move" isn't just an unexpected pleasure; it is inspirational. In fact, his voice makes the record worth hearing once. Repeated listenings will only make you sad because Blunstone can only do so much with the mawkish treacle Argent saddles him with. If only he would hook up with some songwriters or producers who would know how to use his gift. If only he would leave Argent and the Zombies behind once and for all, then listeners might have something to look forward to. Looking back will only bring disappointment and subpar disasters like As Far As I Can See....

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