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The Sun Will Rise Again: The Zombies’ Different Game

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Listen to Colin Blunstone of The Zombies on Stereo Embers The Podcast

How many bands from the ’60s are still putting out good albums? Much of the material presented here could sit very nicely next to some of the best stuff the Zombies ever did, not to mention most of their post-Zombies efforts. This will come as no surprise to those fortunate enough to have caught their recent shows. All their new material has been well received in performance, something you rarely see with any act carrying heavy nostalgia appeal.

The album starts with the title track and some very Procol Harum (via Bach) Hammond organ. Instantly we know we’re in a good place. Even before Colin Blunstone’s soulful voice comes in, all is fine. Rod Argent joins in on harmonies. A gorgeously arranged string quartet takes the instrumental break. Next comes the Stevie Wonder-ish, “Dropped Reeling and Stupid” — but with Rod Argent’s signature electric piano instead of a clavinet. This time Colin and Rod trade off lead vocals before Rod solos on his keys and then guitarist Tom Toomey and bassist Soren Koch come in doubling the electric piano riffs. This is one tight combo and you can see where the extensive touring has paid off in the studio.

“Rediscover” begins with a Beach Boys a cappella intro and becomes a piano ballad with a Hammond organ solo. Brian Wilson should give a listen. “Run Away” has more superb electric piano and guitar and a great bass line. Very Zombies. 

“You Could Be My Love” is a real stand out. This number wouldn’t have been out of place on Odessey & Oracle or Blunstone’s solo masterpiece, One Year. Beautiful piano arpeggios plus a superb vocal by Blunstone add up to a sparkling gem. Rod and Colin at their best.

“Merry Go Round” is the single and sounds contemporary but traditional all at once. “Love You While I Can” features a lovely Dear Prudence guitar figure, very romantic. Perfect wedding song. The string quartet (identified as Q Strings) stars on “I Want to Fly” with an Eleanor Rigby type of arrangement: just Blunstone and strings. Nothing else is needed. “Got to Move On” rocks nicely with 60s harmonies, electric piano, and harmonica. Good old basic r ‘n b similar to what the Zombies gave us on their first album. As Blunstone sings, “falling down,” Argent’s fingers descend down the scale on his Fender Rhodes. Fancy fretwork by Toomey in the lead break. 

This is one of those albums that, after only a few listens, you find yourself thinking of a different track every day. But the very last song will stay with you forever. Written by Blunstone himself, it’s called “The Sun Will Rise Again” and two questions are asked:

   How can you love if you’ve never tasted tears? How can you live without love? 

Simply one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard by anyone. Perfectly arranged a la One Year, with nylon string guitar just like Duncan Browne played on that album. It closes the album because nothing more can be said.

Different Game looks back to the past, with nods to some of their former contemporaries as well as their own solo albums, while at the same time remaining firmly in the present. A wonderful gift from one of the greatest bands in the history of rock.