Still Got That Hunger

The Zombies

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Still Got That Hunger Review

by Mark Deming

While the 2011 album Breathe Out, Breathe In was cautiously billed as "The Zombies featuring Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent," four years later, this new edition of the group is confident enough to simply call themselves the Zombies, though with Jim Rodford from Rod's post-Zombies combo on bass, they could also bill themselves as Argent in a pinch. And with its bluesy swagger and big guitar figures, the opening cut on Still Got That Hunger, "Moving On," sounds significantly more like Argent than the band that cut "She's Not There" or "Time of the Season." The next tune, "Chasing the Past," is much closer to what most Zombies fans would probably hope for, with Argent's precise, imaginative piano work and Blunstone's vocals recalling the spirit of the Zombies' masterpiece Odessey & Oracle, and the group is clearly hoping to jog the memories of their old fans -- the cover art not only apes the look of the Odessey & Oracle sleeve, a figure in the painting is even holding a copy of the 1968 classic. Blunstone's voice is in fine shape on these sessions, Argent's keyboard skills remain impressive, and they can call forth shadows of their glory days on songs like "Beyond the Borderline" and "Little One." But the new version of "I Want You Back Again," though no embarrassment, sounds rather pale compared to the 1965 original, and the overweening nostalgia of "New York" is a reminder that sentimentality was never this group's strongest suit. Despite these flaws, the jazzy touches of "And We Were Young Again" and the polished rock & roll of "Maybe Tomorrow" show this version of the Zombies are capable of creating a sound of their own that's strong and engaging, and guitarist Tom Toomey and drummer Steve Rodford fill their roles with seasoned dexterity. The 21st century version of the Zombies are, not unexpectedly, a band with a different sound and feel than the '60s cult heroes, but Still Got That Hunger reminds us Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone still have the talent that made their names, and there are enough moments here where it shines through that fans will want to give this a thorough listen.

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