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Audio CD (May 17, 2011)

Label: Ais



From 1961-1968, The Zombies were part of the British Invasion with hit singles like “Tell Her No,” “She’s Not There,” and their penultimate “Time of the Season” from the band’s posthumous album, Odessey and Oracle. Thereafter, the principal members, Colin Blunstone (lead vocals) and Rod Argent (vocals, keyboards) went on to their own projects. Most famously, the progressive group Argent, with songs co-written by Rod Argent and former Zombies bassist Chris White, had major hits from 1969-1976 including “Hold Your Head Up” and the criminally neglected “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.” Over the years, both bands had reunions and released live and new material, but little made any impact.

Then, for the Zombie’s 50th anniversary, Argent and Blunstone reunited for Breathe Out, Breathe In and the new collection has justly received universal praise. Simply stated, the 10 songs are beautifully crafted pop with superior vocals—both lead and harmonies—sophisticated arrangements, and Rod Argent’s signature keyboard work.

The rest of the new Zombies are from the current touring line-up: guitarist Tom Toomey, bassist Jim Rodford and his son Steve on drums. As this ensemble has been working together for 10 years, the “telepathy” of the players is evident in the studio tracks that echo both the Zombies past as well as other musical influences. In particular, listeners to the title song, “Breathe Out, Breathe In,” might be forgiven for thinking they are hearing new tunes from Steely Dan. Argent admits “Play It For Real” has nods to “Hey Bulldog” from the Beatles, and “Let It Go” could have been the follow-up to “Whiter Shade of Pale” had Procol Harum recorded it.

Two songs are reworkings of Argent (the band) material co-written by Argent and Chris White now with very different arrangements: “Shine On Sunshine” and “Christmas for the Free.” “Any Other Way” is an update of a Blunstone song he first released on a solo 2009 project, now supported by Argent’s restrained keyboards. “Another Day” is the “heaviest” offering, a very clear descendent of Rod Argent’s second group. But those hoping for melodies that evoke the original Zombies shouldn’t be disappointed, especially “Show Me The Way” with  drums and an organ solo very reminiscent of “Time of the Season”; the same is true of “I Do Believe,” as good as it gets in terms of three-part harmonies and hopeful, haunting lyrics.

Breathe Out, Breathe In isn’t just for Zombie fans—it’s the sort of album that’s perfect for mature Baby Boomers who like a dash of nostalgia mixed into very listenable new music. The album is perhaps a tad short by comparison with usual CD lengths, but then again there are no throwaways, no filler material here. The album took a year to produce, and each track shows care, devotion, and craftsmanship by players and singers at the top of their game—all these years later. It is, in fact, the best Zombies collection to date.     

Click Here To Purchase Breathe Out Breathe in