The Zombies


The Zombies album Odessey and Oracle. Photo courtesy of commongrounds.

Odyssey and Oracle


Psychedelic Pop

35 minutes

5 stars

Produced in 1968, The Zombies’ “Odessey and Oracle” is arguably one of the first successful albums under the psychedelic pop category. The word Odessey was accidentally misspelled by the cover artists, foreshadowing the unconventional vibe the group was going for.

The ’60s indie psychedelic pop scene was pioneered by artists like the Beach Boys and The Beatles. It is rumored that this genre started after the psychedelic drug culture that emerged in the ’60s. Popular rock groups began to add “trippy” sounds amid guitar solos to create melodic riffs.

Odessey and Oracle perfected these beats along with lyrics that were completely up for interpretation.

It begins with an upbeat piano song “Care of Cell 44” that includes blissful choruses and lyrics about sunshine. It masterfully includes just enough guitar solos to entail the kind of ‘good vibrations’ feel the group was going for. This beat is carried over to other songs on the album such as “Beechwood Park” and “Maybe After he’s Gone.”

The second song, “A Rose for Emily” has a recognizable attribute to Pink Floyd’s infamous “See Emily Play” which was released in 1967. This song is the retelling of American short story by William Faulkner about a young girl in the South who never finds love.

Vocalist Colin Blunstone did a mesmerizing job at showing off the lyrics without making his voice the focal point of any song. This paired along with tape manipulation is what made this genre different from other progressive rock and pop genres of the era.

The album ends with The Zombies biggest attribute to psychedelic pop yet. “Time of the Season” became the group’s signature hit and still influences pop culture today. I bet the group would have never imagined their song would be featured in a popular TV series Friends 20 years after being released.

It is a tragedy the British group broke up shortly after the release of this album. We owe grace to their contribution to many of our favorite current day pop culture groups.

Nicole Henson can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.