THE ZOMBIES Odessey & Oracle 30th Anniversary Edition (Big Beat)

Although there’s little that’s genuinely ‘30th Anniversary’ about this reissue of The Zombies’ acclaimed 1968 release, Big Beat have initialled their "Odessey & Oracle" with loving care, with lacquers cut directly from the original analogue tapes, not ropey digital remasters, and a perfect imitation of the contemporary orange CBS logo on the labels. As the sleeve notes "We have used the mono version of ‘This Will Be Our Year’ for this anniversary edition, rather than using the fake stereo that was used on the original Stereo LP". Such attention to detail is rendered even more poignant by rumours that this may be Big Beat’s final vinyl reissue.

To the music, which seems to have withstood the ravages of time with a degree more dignity than the Moby Grape album reviewed above. "Odyssey & Oracle" is all gorgeous, creamy pop, a bit like a baroque 10cc without the distracting whimsy, or an English take on "Pet Sounds". Best bits for me are the unusual love song for a soon-to-be-released prisoner "Care Of Cell 44", the wonderfully melancholic "Beechwood Park" and the fabulously groovy backing vocals on "Friends Of Mine". "Odyssey & Oracle" still sounds very much of its time, but somehow it helps, rather than hinders, appreciation and enjoyment. Recommended.