Gig review: The Zombies, Edinburgh

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FOLLOWING the fanfare surrounding the Zombies’ 2008 reunion to celebrate 40 years since their near-forgotten classic 1968 album Odessey and Oracle – shortly before the release of which the band had split, not anticipating its success – these sunshiny baroque-pop Englishmen keep on keeping on.

The Zombies

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

* * * *

A line-up led by original members Colin Blunstone (vocals) and Rod Argent (vocals/keys) released a well-received album Breathe Out, Breathe in 2011, and continue to tour a mixture of golden oldies, new material and covers. “Some of those songs we first sang when we were 15,” the politely-spoken Blunstone introduced an opening slew of tunes, including 60s US hits I Love You and Little Anthony and the Imperials’ number Going Out Of My Head. “We were 15 once,” he joked, as smiles were shared among five musicians steadfastly refusing to let advancing years convince them it’s time for a haircut.

An awkward figure with a voice that’s anything but, Blunstone still refreshes parts few singers in contemporary pop can reach. And many have tried to channel the Zombies’ shimmeringly tuneful magic, with all from Paul Weller to Dave Grohl among their admirers, as Argent reminded us before an Odessey and Oracle mini-set starting with A Rose For Emily and ending with what else but the iconic Time of the Season, replete with virtuoso extended Hammond solo.

Little in the set – little in many bands’ sets – could hold a candle to that lot, much as Tell Her No and She’s Not There came close. But the feelgood spirit of this salute to timeless songwriting class didn’t deplete, through to the close and a take-back (from Kiss) of the Argent-penned God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You.