(MVD; 121 minutes)
BY JIM ALLEN
Even though The Zombies’ 1968 baroque-pop masterpiece Odessey & Oracle has long been
hailed as one of the finest albums of the ‘60s, if not of all time, it’s always
seemed like some kind of semi-mythical beast. The Zombies, after all, had
ceased to exist before it was even released, so it basically entered the world
as the work of a ghost band. And of course, some of the tracks had that
dreamlike, subtly spooky quality.
So seeing Odessey brought to life on its 40th anniversary by the original band for the
first time, in front of an enraptured London audience, feels a little like a
shock and a lot like a revelation. It turns out these brilliantly composed,
masterfully arranged, passionately performed art-pop gems, part of the
collective pop-culture consciousness for longer than many of their admirers
have been alive, were made by living, breathing human beings!
The proof is right before your eyes and ears, as these
flesh-and-blood sixtysomething Englishmen turn out note-for-note recreations of
the original arrangements in all their harmony-laden, Mellotron-soaked glory.
If Sgt. Pepper was the next
evolutionary step after Pet Sounds,
the third link in that chain is undoubtedly Odessey (it was even recorded at Abbey Road with the Beatles’ engineers), and Rod
Argent, Colin Blunstone and company sound considerably more spry than you’d
think anyone their age reasonably should, as they bring the mythical beast to
life in full, living color.
Bonus features: Excerpts from Odessey & Oracle documentary.