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September 28, 2006 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-28

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2B -The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 28, 2006



"Odessey and Oracle"
The Zombies

By Matt Kivel
Daily Arts Writer
With all of the attention and
praise surrounding Brian Wil-
son and Pet Sounds these days,
it seems the music industry has
chosen to simply ignore all of
the other great psychedelic pop
albums of the '60s. The recent
deaths of Arthur Lee and Syd
Barrett are poignant reminders
of the impending mortality of our
musical heroes. It's time to take
action, to shed light upon some
of the more forgotten treasures
and exhume albums that iTunes
will not podcast and PBS will not
The Zombies' 1968 album,
Odessey & Oracle, is a perfect
pop record. Its melodic inven-
tion is breathtaking and the utter
sweetness and majesty of the
songwriting is so rare that it will
leave you digging through yard
sales for more Zombies music -
though they don't have much more
- only a backlog of scattered
(and sometimes brilliant) singles,
and their debut LP, which lends
the feeling that the consistency
and brilliance of this record was a
product of some higher power.
There were two principal song-
writers in The Zombies - Rod
Argent and Chris White. Argent
has tended to garner most of the
media attention, mainly because
he wrote all of the band's radio
hits, but it should be noted that
Chris White was just as inte-
gral in the songcraft (seven of
Odessey's 12 songs were his).
The album begins with the
sprightly piano jingle of "Care
of Cell 44," which finds lead
singer Colin Blunstone shifting
effortlessly through various key
changes. "Feels so good / You're
coming home soon," he booms
at the blissful chorus. The song
sketches the story of a prison
inmate's impending return to
society, told through the eyes of
his lonely lover. In three minutes
and fifty-three seconds The Zom-
bies have slyly redefined the lyri-

cal conventions of a modern pop
Odessey & Oracle is consis-
tently rewarding upon repeat
listens. "Brief Candles" borders
upon classicism in its use of tex-
ture and chord changes to comple-
ment some of White's best lyrics,
eloquently portraying a couple
that has fallen out of love: "His
alone girl fades away/ Left out on
a limb / Finds he needs her more /
Because she has no more need for
him." The rich piano and muted
trumpets on "This Will Be Our
Year" swing with purpose and
add light bursts of color to the
song's infectious melody, eventu-
ally giving way to the lone organ
drone of the creepy war-ballad
"Butcher's Tale (Western Front
1914)." The Zombies were tak-
ing chances with instrumentation
that no other band, Beatles aside,
could dream of.
"Hung Up on a Dream" is incan-
descent, its woozy guitars shifting
through a foundation of mellotron
and treated piano, perfectly main-
taining the lyrical atmosphere of
uncertainty and mental confu-
sion. Argent's writing brims with
emotion, and the song's sense of
isolation and disillusion reaches
its peak at the triumphant cho-
rus: "A sweet confusion filled my
mind / Until I woke up only find-
ing everything was just a dream."
The album produced a lone
hit single, "Time of The Season"
- a moody exercise in surf-rock
- which has since become one
of the defining musical moments
of its era. Sadly, the song's suc-
cess came long after the group
had called it quits, disbanding
after Odessey & Oracle's failure
to sell.
It is unlikely that Odessey &
Oracle will ever be given the
"royal" treatment of a Pet Sounds
or Sgt. Pepper's, but its failure to
gain wide public exposure only
makes it more of a personally
rewarding listen. It is an album
to share among close friends, one
that will brighten your Ann Arbor
winter days.

As if "Saturday Night Live" weren't in bad
enough shape as It is, cast members
Chris Parnell, Horatio Sanz and Finesse
Mitchell have been dropped from the show
following a flurry of rumors this month. No
announcement was made about the trio's
departure --their names were simply
omitted from a recent press release.
Joining the SNL exodus are Tina Fey and
Rachel Dratch, who both announced over
the summer that they would be leaving
the show. Parnell was a cast member
for seven and a half years, Sanz for eight
years and Mitchell for three years.
Dustin Diamond, the lovable Samuel
"Screech" Powers of late-'80s and early
'90s sitcom "Saved By The Bell," is rumored
to have his very own sex tape. After telling
Howard Stern listeners that he packs nine
inches of punch in his pants, Diamond now
has the opportunity to prove it to skeptics.
Although Screech's manager denied
knowledge of the film, he did note that
this would help Diamond shed his Screech
typecast and help the struggling comedian/
actor get more bookings. What title should
eager fans scan local video store shelves
for? You've got it: "Saved By The Smell."
The politics of the Middle East and Sept.
11 are still making money in Hollywood.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon
will star in "Rendition," New Line's
political thriller set in the Middle East.
The story focuses on a CIA analyst based
in the Middle East who questions his
assignment after he oversees a secret
police interrogation of a suspected
terrorist. Similar projects set in the Middle
East, both related to slain journalist
Daniel Pearl, are currently in production:
Paramount Vantage's "A Mighty Heart"
starring Angelina Jolie and a Beacon
thriller based on the book "Who Killed
Daniel Pearl?" by Bernard-Henri Levy.
Torah tattoos. Kicked drug addictions.
Cheating? Jeffrey Sebelia of Bravo TV's
"Project Runway" was recently accused
of cheating on one of the contestants'
challenges. Despite having appeared
frazzled and behind schedule during
a judge's check-in mid-challenge,
Sebelia claimed to have eked out an
impressively well-sewn line. Fellow
contestant Laura Bennett was the
first to throw accusations at Sebelia,
whose work typically strays from his
recent sewing cariiber. The scandal is
perfect fodder for an epic finale.
It has been more than three weeks since
the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve
Irwin. While filming a documentary, Irwin,
44, was impaled through the heart by a
bull stingray. Despite the international
love for Irwin, there has been some
controversy since his passing. In the past
Irwin had claimed that should he die on


courtesy of Bravo/upefiasco.com
TOP: Jeffrey Sebelia of "Project Runway." BOTTOM: Lupe Fiasco.

the job he would want the footage of his
death to be released; however, only a
handful may be privileged enough to view
the video. Irwin's wife, Terri, and manager,
John Stainton, believe the tape should be
kept private if not completely destroyed.
Video games
The video game market is as fertile as
ever, and now it seems that some of
the industry's most talented rappers
have caught on to the trend. The 2K
Sports video game franchise released
NBA 2K7 on Tuesday, and while the
game itself has gotten mixed reviews,
a surprisingly slamming soundtrack
accompanies the game play. Artists
like Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface, A Tribe
Called Quest, Rhymefest, E-40 and
Mos Def all contributed tracks. The
all-star lineup doesn't end with the
soundtrack's artists, either. Dan "the
Automator" Nakamura, of Handsome

Boy Modeling School and Gorillaz
fame, produced the soundtrack,
which includes a remix of A Tribe
Called Quest's "Lyrics to Go."
Microsoft made the claim that Xbox
360 will be the most important
gaming platform for the next five
years in Barcelona yesterday. It was
also announced that Peter Jackson
and Fran Walsh, producers of the
upcoming "Halo" movie, are starting
up a Microsoft-backed interactive-
entertainment studio called Wingnut
Interactive that will develop a "Halo"
project as well as other titles that
won't be games or movies, but some
sort of hybrid. Other new Xbox 360
titles announced included sequels
to "Project Gotham Racing," "Banjo
Kazooie" and a "Marvel Universe
Online" multiplayer game.
- Compiled by Caitlin Cowan,
Rachel Common
and Elie Zwiebel.


Continued from page 1B
campaign of 1992's "Wayne's
World," now gracing dorm
rooms across the country -
"You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll
There's always some snappy
wit out there in tagline land:
"In Vietnam, the Wind Doesn't
Blow ... It Sucks" ("Full Metal
Jacket"). "Escape or Die Fry-
ing" ("Chicken Run"). "Nobody
Does Him Better" (classic Bond
film "Octopussy"). The Brits in
particular often make a good
show of it, as with 1994's "Four
Weddings and A Funeral": "Five
good reasons to stay single." Ha.
But despite the many top
minds of commercial advertis-
ing (another ha), some lame
ducks inevitably fall through the
cracks. "Mission: Impossible"
announced itself with the unen-
ergetic "Expect the impossible,"
and its sequel didn't exactly
improve: "Expect the impossible

again.'mNot even an exclamation
point. I'm surprised the M:I 3
billboards didn't read "Expect
the impossible again. Really,
guys. Promise."
Just for kicks, a final round
(bonus - guess!):
- "The Ultimate Trip."
("2001: A Space Odyssey." Hip-
pies everywhere could not agree
- "History is about to be
rewritten by two guys who can't
spell." ("Bill & Ted's Excellent
Adventure." A total gimme.)
- "You can't scream if you
can't breathe." ("Anaconda." You
also can't scream if you're laugh-
ing too hard at watching Jennifer
Lopez try to scream.)
- "He sits. He stays. He shoots.
He scores." Bonus points if you
immediately thought of that Li'l
Bow Wow basketball movie. It's
actually "Air Bud," but if you
guessed "Air Bud," I'm going to
have to take points away.)
- MacDonald can be reached
at kmacd@umich.edu.


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