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Zombi - Spirit Animal CD (album) cover

SPIRIT ANIMAL

Zombi

 

Progressive Electronic

3.48 | 32 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Spirit Animal' - Zombi (6/10)

Space rock duo Zombi's third outing sees the band adding some new live instruments to their synth-driven sound, as well as generally widening their palette of sounds. Zombi has always been a group that is fixated on the vintage sounds of early progressive electronic music, the likes of which include such idols as Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. It is quite pleasant then that the band has now gone on to be more focused on live instrumentation than before, although the sound heard on 'Spirit Animal' is overtly electronic in nature. Without sacrificing their core sound, Zombi has reinvented themselves, and in doing so, have created the most promising album of their career. Unfortunately, the glimmer of excellence here is lost on an inconsistent album flow that seems to dip as the album progresses.

The first two tracks that 'Spirit Animal' have to offer are among the best work that Zombi has ever done. Complex textures, with lead guitar work (a first for this project) and just enough ideas to make the fairly long songs worth their time. Although the compositions still are firmly rooted in minimalism and are most often directed towards lengthy buildups and patient texturing over any sort of instant payoff, the amount of sounds and layers in the music here is greater than it was with the previous two records 'Surface To Air' and 'Cosmos'. All in all, I found myself very impressed with the way the album opened, although by the time the album reaches the third track, it is clear that the song quality keeps decreasing as 'Spirit Animal' goes on.

By the third track, there is still the complex layerings of synths and Rush-inspired drumwork, but some of the ideas will far too repetitive and sampled for their own good, leading to the music even reaching the point of being somewhat irritating by the end of the track. The last two tracks on the album continue this trend, with the last track (reaching seventeen and a half minutes in length) carrying on Zombi's tradition of having an 'epic' at the end of each album. Sadly, this time around, the closer 'Through Time' has very little going for it, and by the time the album is over, there is almost the sense that the listener has been cheated out of a consistently impressive listen, considering how well the first half of the album turned out.

Once again, I find myself mildly underwhelmed by Zombi, but I can't help but acknowledge their strong suits, which are surely evident. The end result is an album which at times excellent, and at others a fairly mediocre listen, leading to an enjoyable, but troubled product.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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