Odessey and Oracle
At the time of its release in 1968, the Zombies’ swan song LP was largely overlooked and ignored until nearly two years later when the irresistible “Time of the Season” finally scored as a hit single. One of the British Invasion’s most consistent groups (“She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No”), they had disbanded and it took years of accumulated critical goodwill for their album to attain its deserved status as a psychedelic classic. With mellotron, horns, interweaving harmonies and expansive melodies, Odessey and Oracle is one of the psychedelic era’s most adventurous and luxuriant albums. Singer Colin Blunstone uses his gentle, smoky voice for maximum effect, adding a gorgeous melancholy to the piano and choir chamber pop of “A Rose for Emily,” a cautious joy to the Penny Lane-like “This Will Be Our Year,” a jaunty teasing to the Beach Boys-Kinks-Turtles pastiche of “Care of Cell 44” and a seductive come-on to “Time of the Season.” The album is a production masterpiece, balancing the era’s thirst for new sounds with the needed economy to keep the songs properly grounded.