The Zombies – Different Game (Album Review)

A legacy band whose name still lingers to this day, despite having been formed 62 years ago, British Rock band The Zombies first emerged in 1961. Emerging out of Hertfordshire, England, they graced the ’60s era of Rock-n-Roll with two, now classic albums – 1965’s Begin Here and 1968’s Odyssey & Oracle. Famously known for hit songs like “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season,” The Zombies was among the forerunners of what became known as Psychedelic/Sunshine Pop, alongside the likes of others such as Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Hollies, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Love, as well as The Lemon Pipers.

Unfortunately, nothing much was heard from the enduring band in the couple of decades following the 1960s, aside from an album each for the 1990s and the early 2000s. However, to the surprise of many, The Zombies with their music resurged once again in the last twelve years. First Breathe InBreathe Out was unleashed in 2011, and then the Billboard-charting Still Got That Hunger in 2015. And now, Rod Argent (keyboards, vocals) and Colin Blunstone (vocals) with the rest of The Zombies – Steve Rodford (drums, percussion), Tom Toomey (guitar, backing vocals), and Søren Koch (bass, backing vocals) – unleashes Different Game.

Released on Friday, March 31, 2023, via Cooking Vinyl Records, the highly anticipated Different Game marks the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers seventh album. A product of persistence in crazy times, the album is a blend of psychedelic-tinged rockers and string-laden acoustic ballads. Complete with ten new songs, it opens with the nostalgic, church-feel of the title-track and then followed by the engaging bluesy stomper “Dropped Reeling and Stupid”… which is also the album’s lead single. The light then turns dim with the piano-led ballad “Rediscover,” the slightly fuzzy “Runaway,” and the Baroque Pop-stylized “You Could Be My Love.”

Moving forward with “Merry-Go-Round,” The Zombies then steps on the automobile’s accelerator, only to break again with another slow ballad – “Love You while I Can.” Following next is arguably the album’s boldest highlight – the orchestral-glazed “I Want to Fly.” Thereafter you have “Get to Move On” which beams of a classic ’60s Psychedelic Pop sound. Finally, Argent, Blunstone, and the rest of The Zombies wrap up the new set of music with “The Sun Will Rise Again.”

Bands that have a very long tenure are a rarity. Time has certainly aged The Zombies like fine wine… and Different Game is 100% proof of this. Grab a copy of the record and indulge in both its familiarity and freshness, because Cryptic Rock gives Different Game 4 out of 5 stars.

The Zombies – Different Game / Cooking Vinyl Records (2023)

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